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Sandbagging plant to reopen Friday

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Flood-threatened communities north of Winnipeg have called a break in sandbagging preparation until Friday to service their equipment and give exhausted workers and volunteers a break.

"We’re not shutting down or abandoning anyone," St. Andrews and West St. Paul emergency co-ordinator Paul Guyader said this morning. "Friday, we’re up and running full tilt again.

"We had a meeting last night with all the managers. We have to shut the (sandbag) plant down for a couple of days," he said, emphasizing that the equipment needs to be cleaned and the sandbag-filling site at the West St. Paul fire hall cleaned up.

"This is still a functioning fire hall," Guyader pointed out.

"Resting our (staff) people doesn’t mean they’re going home to bed — they’re cleaning roads," said Guyader, who estimated 15 centimetres of snow fell since Tuesday evening.

"We’re trying to give everyone a breather. They’re all worn down to the state that they need a rest. We can’t go on like this for two weeks," he said.

More than 700 volunteers registered to sandbag Tuesday, and at least another 100 showed up but didn’t sign in, Guyader said. "We’ve got high school kids, we had the Manitoba Métis Federation here, the Hutterites have been phenomenal."

Guyader said any property owner needing sandbags can come and get them from the four area depots, but volunteers should call 481-0739 to find out when and where they’ll be needed next.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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