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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Family Temporarily Loses Home to Flooding

As winter approaches and the water from Lake Manitoba continues to freeze, uncertainty remains on whether or not the lake will be able to be lowered, and damage mitigated heading into the spring of 2012.

Jody Fletcher, a home owner in Delta Beach, temporarily lost her home at the height of the flood because of encroaching water. She was evacuated like most in the area, although no direct damage was done to her home.

"The water in the back has started to go down and we've built a rock dike on the lake so for now we're safe," she said. "We're hoping to move back in the spring and we're still anxious to see what happens when the ice breaks up and we're hopeful that they'll continue to lower the lake over the winter. It's status quo for now."

Fletcher said that she received compensation from the government for the damage that was done to her property - she lost a shed, deck and plenty of lake bank because of the water - but said it was a difficult process to undergo.

"It was extremely frustrating because this is new territory for everybody and there's several different programs at play here. Everyone at the office was as helpful as they could be. They often didn't have the information that they needed to help us but that seems to be getting in itself straighten around," she said.

Fletcher is also due to receive additional compensation in the spring. What's more, Fletcher hopes that the Province stays true to their promise on lowering the lake so that future crises can be averted.

The $100-million emergency channel at Lake St. Martin was completed in November and is expected to help lower the levels.

What's more, plans are now underway, and an open tender will be issued soon, for construction of an extended reach of the channel from Buffalo Creek to Lake Winnipeg. This is expected to help ease spring breakup and ice jam-related flooding along the Dauphin River by diverting water more directly into Lake Winnipeg.

And while additional strategies are being employed, critics of the Manitoba government say that there is not much for water retention strategy, which could maintain some of the current problems facing water management.

Still, Fletcher said she hopes that the government is pursuing all the possibilities to lower the lake so that people can return to their homes for good.

"It's always scary. We have no idea what's going to happen in the spring and it's going to depend on what the government will do about the level of that lake," said Fletcher. "It's been pretty traumatic having to leave and doing all the work that had to be done to save our home and we'll just have to see when it comes. The lake has to go down before we're going to be safe. We're not out of the woods.

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