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Province to provide aid to Manitobans affected by rising lake

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TWIN LAKES BEACH - Premier Greg Selinger says money will flow in the short term to ensure property owners at Twin Lakes Beach can protect themselves from the lake.

"Long-term, we'll have to take a look at a permanent solution," Selinger said during a visit to the area on Monday.

"If this level of water becomes the new normal, we'll have to look at the long-term impact."

Light winds and sun today have provided a temporary reprieve for the cottagers and homeowners struggling to protect their properties from high water along Lake Manitoba.

Over the weekend, heavy winds drove waves up against lakeshore properties and public lands in communities including Delta Beach, St. Ambroise and Twin Lakes Beach. Within weeks, these properties may find themselves kilometres away from land due to expected advance of Lake Manitoba.

Water is pouring into Lake Manitoba through the Portage Diversion, Whitemud River and Waterhen River faster than water is flowing out through the Fairford River on its way to Lake Winnipeg.

At Twin Lakes Beach, property owners are building sandbag dikes and shoring up existing ones, as the lake is expected to rise at least another foot and possibly three more.

"Sometimes, we're optimistic. Sometimes, we're not so optimistic," said cottager Carl Classen, whose father built a floodwall that must now be reinforced.

When winds blow from the north, the lake levels in Lake Manitoba's southern basin rise higher due to the set-up effect.

He and his wife Marion drove loads of sandbags in from nearby St. Laurent. The machine requires 40 to 50 volunteers to operate, slowing production, he said.

The area is still short of sandbags, said St. Laurent Coun. Derek Johnson, whose municipality can produce 2,000 an hour but needs to make 350,000.

If anyone has filled sandbags they can send to St. Laurent, please do so, Johnson said.

History

Updated on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:55 AM CDT: Corrects lake reference.

1:21 PM: Adds premier's comments and call for more sandbags.

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