A former Councillor for Ritchot, who passed away earlier this year, is now being remembered as a pioneer.

The Economic Development Council of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities, also known as CDEM, is holding special ceremonies this month, highlighting the outstanding achievements of six individuals.

Executive Director Louis Allain says this is the 25th anniversary of CDEM. To celebrate the milestone, the organization decided to hold tree planting ceremonies for what it refers to as "champions of local economic development." The list includes Jeannot Robert of Ste. Agathe, George Rajotte, Gilbert Robert and Diane Dube of Winnipeg, Paul Grenier of St. Leon and Renald Parent of St. Joseph.

Allain highlights several accomplishments of the late Jeannot Robert, which combined to make him a worthy recipient of the recognition. He points to the industrial park that has opened in Ste. Agathe and all of the housing development that has gone on in that community since the flood of 1997, as being initiatives under the watchful eye of Robert. Allain says Robert, who served on Ritchot Council for many years was inspirational on behalf of the 16 bilingual municipalities. Robert passed away on March 28 of this year.

Allain says they want to leave a landmark in the communities of these six individuals and so a tree planting ceremony will take place as well as the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. Due to the pandemic, these personal ceremonies will replace their standard gala evening.

For Jeannot Robert, the ceremony happened at the Ste. Agathe dock. Allain explains the dock was a landmark project that CDEM was involved with. He adds it is also part of the vision plan which that community has developed over the years.

Though this is a new initiative, Allain guesses that paying tribute to their pioneers in this way is probably something that will continue to happen in the years to come. He notes it is important to leave some form of landmark so that future generations can see how their leaders made a difference in their communities.