Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Residents demand a larger dike

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PETERSFIELD -- Residents who were forced to flee their homes early Saturday morning say construction of a larger dike to keep back the waters of Netley and Wavey creeks is essential.

About 50 residents from the Jenny Drive and Patricia Drive neighbourhood, north of Selkirk in the RM of St. Andrews, watched helplessly as waters from the two creeks swelled over earthen dikes built behind their homes in 2007 and swallowed up their yards.

"This is my fourth flood in 25 months," Micheal Handler said.

Handler and his neighbours were allowed to return to their homes Sunday afternoon after being ordered out at 8 a.m. the day before. Local officials believed the ice jam on Netley Creek, which was responsible for the flooding, had moved farther north and resulted in lowering of the water levels.

The residents of Jenny Drive, Patricia Drive and Lilian Drive live on a point of land that is bounded on both sides by Netley and Wavey creeks. It's a scenic spot for most of the year; a real mess in the spring.

"This is a beautiful spot, right on the water like this, but there is this inconvenience" Ken Bergman said as he surveyed his flooded yard.

The earthen dike behind the homes on Patricia Drive has given residents who live there little protection since it was built.

Residents said their earlier requests to the municipality for tube dikes were rejected and when it became apparent their properties were going to be flooded, there was no time to install the dikes.

While many garages and outbuildings were flooded or surrounded by water, most homes here suffered little or no damage as a result of the weekend flooding. Bergman's home, which lies closest to the tip of the point, had a little water seep under his back door.

Bergman and Handler said they are grateful to the municipality, which sent crews and pumps to dry out their yards and those of their neighbours, but they said a larger, higher dike would be a better alternative.

Dean Nicolson recently built a concrete and earthen dike to protect his Patricia Drive home and garage. While water surrounded the homes of his neighbours, the land on his property was essentially dry.

"I've seen floods like this 10 times since 1994," Nicolson said.

Handler said staff from Water Stewardship told him they're considering options to protect the properties in the future, including a larger community dike or enhancements to individual homes.

"But we were told it was going to take several years before anything is built," Handler said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2011 A3

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