A dream two-decades in the making has become reality for the community of Rosenort. Stakeholders turned the sod on a plot of land on the south end of the community Thursday afternoon, officially opening Prairie Hearth Development for residential building.

Council for the R.M. of Morris purchased the land during Herm Martens' tenure as Reeve, following the industrial boom in the community after the flood of '97. 

"When we were completed with the '97 flood dikes, we started to dream and plan for an industrial park. We bought 120 acres at that time, and it's basically filled up. The Rosenort Industrial Park later on bought another 80 acres to have that complete," explained Martens at Thursday's sod turning. "While that was our first dream that we were working on, our second dream was planning a place to develop a residential area for the housing that would be required and a plan to go along with it. We approached the Ben Goosen family, and together we came up with a with an agreement that was positively accepted by both parties. This parcel of land then became the RM's responsibility for development. This is certainly a great accomplishment."

RM Morris, Prairie Hearth Developments

When Ralph Groening succeeded Martens as Reeve, it was then Council's task to update infrastructure and further flood proof the community. 

"This is a strong community, an amazing community, and we were optimistic there would be a time when we would want to develop this area for residential growth, but we knew there would be challenges," explained Groening, one of them being flood protection. "So, our CAO, Larry Driedger, put together an impact study if we would lose our road access and so, along with the Province of Manitoba, we built up PR 330 - hard surfaced. Then we took on the challenge of getting the Province to improve the PR 422 bridge. That's been done. The water reservoir needed to be expanded in order to prepare for residential growth, and we've expanded the lagoon. We are ready for this community to grow to three/four/five thousand people."

Groening believes this development is an opportunity for the up to 600 workers that travel to Rosenort every day to take advantage of an affordable housing project in the community.

RM Morris, Prairie Hearth Developments

"To echo Ralph's statement, as well as give them an opportunity to put down roots and move their families into town," added Scott Siemens who now sits at the helm of Council. He feels the group is up to the task of completing this dream.

"230 lots is quite an undertaking for our Council. I feel that we are up to the task," he said.

"Realizing that our community has space now again to grow and to get more dwellings, along with that we realize there will be challenges with potential school space needing to grow and other commercial and economic activity that needs to take place. So, that would be our next step and challenge - to make sure we have areas that are zoned and ready to be serviced for those businesses."

Foundation work on a few properties is set to begin in Spring. 

The modules for a ready-to-move daycare facility have also landed in the neighbourhood. In fact, the facility is scheduled to be completed first out of the initial round of 9 that were announced by the Province last fall for communities across Manitoba. 

RM Morris, Prairie Hearth Developments