Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has announced that the provincial government has plans to collaborate and consult with several First Nations in the Interlake area over the government’s plan to shut off two outlet channels in order to mitigate flood risks.
“For nearly a year our government has engaged with Indigenous communities that may be impacted by these channel projects in order to build relationships, share information and gain a greater understanding of the potential challenges and benefits that do exist,” Pallister told the media.
The two outlet channels to be cut are on Lake St. Martin and Lake Manitoba, CBC reported.
Search and compare product listings for insurance against Overland Flooding from specialty market providers here
Pallister also said that funding will be made available to communities to not only ensure that their treaty rights are protected during consultations, but also to make sure their concerns are heard.
“Meanwhile, our governments recognize there remain First Nations communities from the Interlake region that have, for far too long, been suffering the effects of catastrophic flooding in 2011.”
The premier said communities such as Lake St. Martin can return to their homes this summer.
Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen explained that construction on access roads for the channels begin this year, while actual channel construction starts in 2019.
Deputy assistant infrastructure minister Doug McMahon detailed that the Lake St. Martin channel will be an enhancement of the current channel.
“The existing facility is really an emergency channel that was constructed under emergent conditions,” McMahon said. “Essentially it will be a 23-kilometre long, new flood relief channel.”
McMahon pointed out that the current channel lacks floodgates or structures that are easily controlled. The channel was designed only to divert water up to 4,000 cubic feet per second. The new channels will be able to handle 11,500 cubic feet per second.
He also said that the planned Lake Manitoba channel (also 23 kilometers long) can handle 7,500 cubic feet per second and will work with the current infrastructure on the channel.
IBC praises authorities over flood mitigation scheme
Is Canada exacerbating its flood problem?