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The Altona Hospital. One of Altona's first large building projects was the con­ struction of the new hospital in 1948, and it was the first hospital started under the New Manitoba Health Care Scheme. With the construction of this building, health care in Rhineland became the domain of a Government Approved Board rather than a private society. The Altona Hospital District #24 came into being in 1945 and was run by a board consisting of representatives from the R.M. of Rhineland, R.M. of Morris, R.M. of Montcalm, and the towns of Gretna and Altona.

Credit: W. J. Kehler

intensive agriculture was practised. Sunflowers, sugar beets, com and other special crops made smaller farms and thus denser populations possible. This denser rural population, in tum, contributed to Altona's growth by its demands for goods and services." While Rhineland's farm size was increasing, it was doing so at a much slower rate than other areas in Manitoba and the west.

Altona further benefitted from its agriculture hinterland in that it was able to process one of the crops right in town. By 1956 the Department of Commerce indicated that cva's employees and families accounted for at least 30 per cent of Altona's population increase in the previous ten years and over 13 per cent of its annual retail trade. In addition to this, taxes paid by the plant accounted for 13 per cent of the town's revenues. 46

From 1946 to 1949 the cva plant had dramatically increased its processing capacity, but in 1949 the Co-op nearly suffered financial ruin as grasshoppers, caterpillars and rust destroyed that year's crop. In addition to this, the Government support plan had been lifted ending freight subsidization and subjecting crop prices to the world market.