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Flood costs province $200 million so far

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Premier Greg Selinger and MP Candace Bergen thank Brig.-Gen. Christian Juneau and the Canadian Forces for their assistance with the floods.

SARAH TAYLOR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Premier Greg Selinger and MP Candace Bergen thank Brig.-Gen. Christian Juneau and the Canadian Forces for their assistance with the floods. Photo Store

The bill for this summer’s flooding is at least $200 million and rising, Premier Greg Selinger said today.

The amount includes flood-damaged roads and bridges and financial disaster assistance for Manitobans hit by the worst of the summer flooding in the Assiniboine Valley. To date, approximately 215 people have attended the province’s mobile recovery offices and 166 applications have been received.

"That cost excludes all the agriculture programs," Selinger said. "It excludes any repair work that has to be done to the flood infrastructure itself, such as the (Portage) diversion, because the water is still too high to know what the impact has been on the quality of that infrastructure."

Of the estimated $200 million in flood costs, deputy minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Doug McNeil said about $60 million will go towards bridge repairs, another $40 million for repairing washed out roads and $100 million in disaster financial assistance. Of that amount, $30 million will cover the province’s response to the flood and $70 million for municipalities and individuals.

It’s estimated that about 950,000 acres of farmland went unseeded this spring because of excess moisture. The province expects about $60 million in claims.

The total bill for the 2011 flood was about $1.25 billion.

The mounting flood tab came after Selinger thanked the military for its help in the Assiniboine River Valley over the past week. About 500 personnel were deployed starting last Saturday, with the majority returning to base Thursday and Friday. The province’s state of emergency remains in effect.

Brig.-Gen Christian Juneau said a rapid response unit will be on standby should any urgent need be determined over the course of the next week as the crest moves down the Assiniboine River. A helicopter with a specialized sensing camera will also patrol dikes at night to detect any possible breaches.

"This is important to us," Juneau said of the army’s role. "This is the home game, priority number one from a Canadian Force’s perspective. That’s why we put so much emphasis on readiness, having the personnel, the vehicles, the equipment ready to go when there is a requirement."

The Assiniboine River has now crested for a second time at St. Lazare where nine homes were damaged earlier in the week and water levels are dropping. The Assiniboine River at Miniota has crested and high water levels are expected to last for a day or two. Peak flows are expected in Brandon between today and July 13 at 2011 levels. Peak flows are expected to last for a day or two before gradually declining.

The forecast for a second crest at the Portage Reservoir calls for peak flows of 48,000 to 49,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) between July 14 and 16. Peak flows are expected to last for a day or two before gradually declining. Up to 18,000 cfs will be sent down the river with the rest sent up the Portage Diversion into Lake Manitoba, which is now at flood stage.

The province is producing inundation maps here for possible flood or wave-storm scenarios on Lake Manitoba to help municipalities protect at-risk properties.

Work on those properties in many Lake Manitoba communities started a week ago.

History

Updated on Friday, July 11, 2014 at 2:12 PM CDT: adds link to maps website

2:47 PM: adds photo

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