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This debt, especially the debenture debt, would in the next years be a source of friction within the municipality. By 1884 it had been decided that the whole municipality, rather than simply the one town ship, would repay the debenture debt. While this was a relief to the residents of township 1 range 1 east, it upset Gretna residents. Gretna residents felt unfairly penalized and this extra tax burden was a signifi cant factor in Gretna's decision to incorporate in 1896.
Not all municipal matters were as contentious as this. Bridges were constructed on the petition of fifteen ratepayers and usually built by statute labour. Larger bridges, such as the forty-five foot bridge at Plum Coulee, however, were contracted out to a reliable person."
The municipality also aided farmers by providing seed grain to those in need. This was done by borrowing money on debentures at 6 per cent interest and loaning this money to farmers who did not have enough money to seed the next spring. By 1890 the Municipality of Douglas had lent out over $900 for seed grain. 17
Following the change in municipal boundaries in 1890, the new enlarged R.M. of Rhineland was faced with new challenges. Not only did the council have to deal with the construction of roads and bridges in a larger area, but was increasingly called on to alleviate drainage problems as settlement spread into the northern part of the municipality.
Renewed Immigration and Lutheran Settlement 1890-1900
One of the reasons for the pressing need for better drainage in the northern part of the municipality was the rising population and demand for land after 1890.
During the late 1880's and early 1890's another wave, albeit small er, of Mennonite immigrants arrived in theR.M. of Rhineland. Between October and December of 1891 alone, 145 Russian Mennonites settled in the West Reserve and it is estimated that over 900 Russian Men nonites arrived in the early 1890's. 18 These immigrants either stayed with relatives in already established villages or tried to find land in the north end of the municipality where there was still unoccupied land near Plum Coulee and Rosenfeld. Others stayed in Manitoba for only a summer or winter to earn some money and then continued on to the Canadian Northwest where homestead land was still available. 19
Reasons for immigrating to Manitoba for these Mennonites were more economic than religious. New immigrants continually stressed that there were much better opportunities in Canada for the poor and landless. Not only were there 160 acre homesteads available for ten