From the Planning District to the Economic Development office to administration and much more - the City of Portage la Prairie and the Rural Municipality of Portage have worked hard to have strong collaboration.

Reeve Kam Blight reacted to the news that the two groups won a national award for working together.

"Relationships are built on trust and respect, and those aren't things that are automatic. It's not something that's given. It's earned," says Reeve Blight. "Both municipalities have worked very hard to earn the trust and respect of each other, and it's something we're constantly continuing to maintain and build off of. One of the most critical things is having communication."

He says they have had strong communication between both councils and administration and that's a big reason for their success.

Reeve Blight says each municipality has their individual goals, and in some cases, do things differently. However, he says they agree on one very important point -- they each want the region to be the best place it can be for people to invest in.

"We recognize that we're stronger working together. We also very easily recognize that what benefits the city, benefits the RM, and what benefits the RM, benefits the city," says Blight. "It is very exciting to be working alongside another municipality that has the same mindset as ours and I honestly believe that the opportunities are endless for our region and it's very exciting to be a part of."

According to a release from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, the City and RM approached the Province of Manitoba in 2021 as a municipal cooperative about entering into a Regional Childcare Project partnership to build a new municipality-owned childcare facility. As a result, the two municipalities won the CAMA 2023 Collaboration Award for Collaboration within Municipalities.