The culmination of the Border Road dispute is being singled out as a major highlight for the Municipality of Rhineland this past year.
Last December, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an appeal application submitted by a group of North Dakota farmers and local communities who wanted the road in the Manitoba municipality taken down, and financial compensation for decades of flood damage to their land and crops that they allege was the result of the border road that runs along the Manitoba-North Dakota border.
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed that application indicating it did not meet the Court's criteria for hearing a matter, effectively bringing an end to any further Federal Court proceedings in the case.
Since then, Reeve Don Wiebe says the municipality has begun to rekindle a relationship with its American counterparts. Rhineland officials have engaged with the Pembina County Resource Board in North Dakota to discuss ways of mitigating and solving the flood situation in the Pembina Basin.
The municipal election in October also marked a significant milestone for the Municipality of Rhineland.
Ballots were cast a new three-ward system, reducing the governing body from 7 to 6 councillors and a reeve. As a result, two new people were elected to council; June Letkeman and Larry Fehr.
Meantime, a number of regional initiatives have made Wiebe's list of 2018 highlights.
In particular is the municipality's ongoing relationship with the Town of Altona. This past year the two municipalities agreed to support the new economic development group, S.E.E.D., finalized a secondary plan for the fringe area around Altona, worked to upgrade the local landfill, signed a waste-water agreement, and worked in conjunction with the R.M. of Montcalm to hammer out a new contract with the doctors at the Altona Clinic.
Also in 2018, the municipality began working on a joint by-law enforcement agreement with the neighbouring R.M. of Stanley. Wiebe explained the deal covers parking, animal control, derelict vehicles, unsightly yards and controlled burning.
Wiebe added it was also an eventful year for the LUDs in Rhineland.
"We started the year off with the grand opening of the CJ Dyck Arena, then later on we had the opening of The Centre," he said.
A water and waste-water study is also underway in Plum Coulee.
Renovations are continuing at the Good Neighbour Centre in Rosenfeld.
And in Gretna, Wiebe said the playground has been upgraded, a bison sculpture has been purchased, and a few new businesses have opened up in the community.
Council also purchased a new water tanker for the Altona/Rhineland fire department. According to Fire Chief, Greg Zimmerman, the Municipality of Rhineland makes up about 95 percent of the department's response area and said the updated tanker will play a crucial role in battling fires in rural settings.
Additionally, the municipality spearheaded a pair of experiments.
The first saw dry-roller concrete applied to a high-traffic intersection in Blumengart. The second experiment was with a new dust control measure that Wiebe hopes will last three years.
2018 also saw a few accomplishments regarding drainage.
Wiebe explained the municipality completed its fourth drainage study and noted the recommendations of one of those studies has now been implemented.
The first phase of the Rempel Drain was also completed.
And without question, Wiebe said the growth of the Rhineland Ag Park West is another highlight of the past year.