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This lack of attention to rural issues seemed most evident in drainage matters. The main complaint here was not in the lack of capital projects, but rather the maintenance of existing drains. Through the Federal-Provincial Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Ad­ ministration (ARDA) agreement $4.4 million was spent on flood con­ trol and drains in the rural municipalities of Rhineland, Stanley and Pembina between 1963 and 1968.20 While these drainage projects were welcome, to be operational the drains had to be effectively maintained since soil erosion and vegetation regularly clogged these drains. The maintenance of drains had always been a concern in the municipality, but the problem became worse after the provincial government took over the three major drains in the area, (Hespeler, Aux Marais, and Buffalo) in 1967-68. Almost yearly the municipality requested the government to initiate reconstruction and clean these drains, with disappointing results. 21

A particular problem during the 1960's and 1970's was the per­ sistent spring flooding along the international boundary when the Pembina River overflowed its banks. This flooding had a number of causes not the least of which was the very low elevation in the Halbstadt area. There were other issues, however, which aggravated the problem such as the slowness of the provincial government in reconstructing the

Grading the Hespeler Drain.

Credit: Echo

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