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Drying manure bricks near Altona -1931. These bricks provided cheap fuel for area farmers during the depression.

Credit: PAM

Relief Act of 1931, whereby relief costs were shared equally by the municipal, provincial and federal governments. All those who had a year's residency in the municipality could apply to the municipal council for food, fuel, clothing, rent and seed grain when in need.

By 1934, 255 Rhineland residents were on the municipal relief role and in the years 1937-39 this had risen to 351.12 The municipality also gave municipal residents the opportunity to payoff their taxes by working for the municipality. Highway 30, between Gretna and Rosen­ feld, was constructed with this labour. Other projects included cleaning out drainage ditches and the construction of wells and ponds. 13

Not all applications for relief could be met, because as farm income shrank so too did municipal revenue as farmers were unable to pay their taxes. Funds for relief were limited and had to be prudently administered. The merits of each case were carefully weighed by the whole council and some requests were turned down."

One Gretna area farmer, cut off from seed grain, appealed to the Municipal Commissioner to intercede with the council on his behalf. On receiving a request from the Municipal Commissioner to look into the case, H. H. Hamm angrily replied that the farmer did not meet the guidelines for relief and that all further parties petitioning the Commis­ sioner should be told to go to a place that begins with an "H" and end with an "L" - the Hospital. 15

While this was somewhat of an intolerant response, it reflected the