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Victoria Beach considering calling state of emergency

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The flood fight turned today to the east side of Lake Winnipeg where Victoria Beach is being hammered on two fronts.

On one side of the RM the dikes at Albert Beach and Wanasing Beach are being tested by higher water and waves and on the other side officials are concerned they could lose fire-truck access to cottages on Scott Point because of erosion of the shoreline, Reeve Tom Farrell said today.

Farrell said sandbag and clay dikes erected in both locations in 2011 have slumped and need to be raised immediately.

The immediate threat to Albert Beach is to low-lying cottages north of Saffie Road and to lake-front cottages at Wanasing.

Within the restricted area of Victoria Beach, Farrell said officials are worried about losing access for emergency vehicles off Patricia Road to cottages that hug Scott Point.

The council is to meet at 3 p.m. today to consider calling a local state of emergency and requesting provincial help.

Lee Spencer, acting executive director of the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization, said the province is aware of the situation at Victoria Beach.

"I’ve been tracking the Victoria Beach story," Spencer said Tuesday. "We’re ready to chip in if they feel they need and resources from the province.

The south basin of Lake Winnipeg is fed by the Red River and the Winnipeg River with the later in recent days running at almost 100,000 cubic feet per second, fed by record rain storms in Northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota over the past month. The Red is also running high fed by the Assiniboine River.

"We’re getting it from both sides," Farrell said.

Today, Lake Winnipeg sits at a wind-eliminated level of 716.14 feet above sea level, or 1.14 feet above the upper limit of Manitoba Hydro's recommended operating range for the lake.

Lake Winnipeg was slightly higher than it is now during the summer flood of 2006 and rose to 717 feet above sea level in July 2011 after both the Red and Assiniboine rivers had significant flooding.

Lake Winnipeg reached its highest recorded level in 1974, when it rose above 718 feet. Significant flooding occurred in both Winnipeg Beach and Gimli that year.

The recommended operating range for Lake Winnipeg is 711 to 715 feet. Manitoba Hydro regulates the lake through a control structure at the Jenpeg Generating Station on the western arm of the Nelson River. The maximum it can discharge from the lake is 160,000 cfs.

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 3:09 PM CDT: Writethru with quotes.

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