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Residents want outlet for Lake Manitoba now

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Chair of Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee Tom Teichroeb speaks as residents and farmers gather Tuesday at a farm north of Portage la Prairie. They want to build a channel out of Lake Manitoba to prevent damage to their land.

SARAH TAYLOR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Chair of Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee Tom Teichroeb speaks as residents and farmers gather Tuesday at a farm north of Portage la Prairie. They want to build a channel out of Lake Manitoba to prevent damage to their land. Photo Store

Farmers and residents around Lake Manitoba are calling on the province to quickly build a channel to let water out of the lake, as rising water levels are destroying their way of life.

About 70 people gathered at the farm of Mark Peters, northwest of Portage la Prairie.

Peters invited people to see the Portage diversion for themselves, as only by seeing it can they understand the damage it's doing through seepage into the surrounding fields, he said.

"It's important you see it instead of just hearing or reading about it... You're going to see a lot of water in the field. That's not from rain," Peters said.

Tom Teichroeb, one of the organizers and chair of the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee said the rising lake is threatening the livelihoods of residents. "We need to move quicker... We need flood mitigation measures immediately. Not seven years, not three years, not two, now," Teichroeb said.

Infrastructure and Transportation minister Steve Ashton announced Monday that a Lake Manitoba outlet is at least seven years away, and Teichroeb said that's unacceptable.

Also in attendance were representatives of the RMs and communities in the area, including Portage la Prairie reeve Kam Blight.

Blight said he is fully supportive of a lake outlet channel, and was surprised to hear that it would take seven years.

"We need to get control of the lake levels... All due respect to the province, but that's unacceptable. I can't have my people sitting on pins and needles, waiting for what's going to happen," Blight said.

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:46 PM CDT: Adds photo.

5:59 PM: Corrects typo.

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