The Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet was incorporated in 1917, with Council holding its first meeting on June 5th of that year.
During its formative years, transportation (roads) was seen as a major priority by the Council of the day. Even then, Council realized that a network of all-season roads was vital in servicing the needs of local farmers and providing them with access to the major markets and transportation links in Winnipeg . Likewise, a major artery connecting Lac du Bonnet with Winnipeg was viewed as a critical requirement for promoting summer tourism in eastern Manitoba.
From a geographical perspective, the municipality is situated approximately 1.5 hours north east of Winnipeg, where prairie farmland in the west meets the boreal forest and granite outcropping of the Canadian Shield in the eastern portion of the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet. Today the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet encompasses approximately 460 square miles of land. A large portion of the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet includes waters of the Winnipeg River and its tributaries, making the region a Mecca to outdoor enthusiasts. Moreover, the municipality is ideally situated between two provincial parks: Nopiming Provincial Park to the northeast and Whiteshell Provincial Park to the southeast.
The Town of Lac du Bonnet, which is a separate municipal entity, is located within the boundaries of the Municipality. The Town of Lac du Bonnet offers many services to its residents that are not delivered to residents of the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet. These include: sewer, water, paved streets, street lighting, garbage pick-up, etc. The differences in services between the Town and the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet are aptly reflected in variations in mill rates.
The Town of Lac du Bonnet is the major service center within the region, and over the years, the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet and the Town have collaborated on bringing many projects and services to its residents. Such projects have included the Lac du Bonnet Regional Library, Lac du Bonnet Arena, Lac du Bonnet Community Centre, Lac du Bonnet Youth Centre, Lac Du Bonnet and District Fire Department and Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.
The Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet shares borders with the Rural Municipalities of Brokenhead and St. Clements to the west; the Rural Municipalities of Reynolds, Whitemouth and L.G.D. of Pinawa to the south; and the Rural Municipality of Alexander to the north.
Since its incorporation, the economic base of the municipality has become quite diverse. While agriculture remains a staple industry in the western portion of the municipality, hydroelectric generation, mining, harvesting of trees for lumber as well as pulp and paper and tourism has become important components of the local economy.
Over the past 40 years, the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet has seen exceptional growth in land development. Due to its proximity to the Winnipeg and Lee Rivers, lands adjacent to these waterways have become a haven to full-time and seasonal residents. As well, Lac du Bonnet has paralleled other rural municipal jurisdictions outside of Winnipeg with a steady growth in its population as retirees move from larger urban centres to make the pristine beauty of Lac du Bonnet their home. In fact, the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet presently ranks 16th out of 200 Manitoba municipalities in terms of overall assessed value.
Permanent residents in the municipality exceed 2,400 people. However, between May and October, the population swells in excess of 8,000 residents, as cottagers and campers pour into the community to take advantage of all that nature has to offer.
Presently, the Rural Municipality provides the following inventory of services to its residents:
- 490 kilometres of municipal roads, all of which are maintained on a year-round basis;
- administration and operation of a district volunteer fire department;
- a complete civic addressing system;
- enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Response System for every phone line;
- Emergency Coordinator with an emergency plan in place;
- By-Law Enforcement Officer;
- operation of two waste disposal transfer stations (five-bin site on Provincial Road 520 and a two-bin site on Provincial Road 214);
- support towards a municipal recycling program;
- two-cell sewage lagoon, with each cell encompassing 114,000 sq. meters, which is capable of servicing 4,568 permanent residents;
- administration and maintenance of a Regional Airport , that includes a paved runway and water base;
- ongoing drainage projects along 1,377 kilometres of municipal drains;
- financial support towards the Lac du Bonnet Regional Library; Lac du Bonnet Arena; Lac du Bonnet Youth and Community Centres; Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee; and Agassiz Weed District;
- maintenance of five municipal boat launches, numerous parks and eight municipal cemeteries.
In addition to the preceding services, the Rural Municipality also provides financial support to numerous community-based and regional organizations in support of their programs and activities.