Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Some ordered to leave; others wait

Residents scramble to protect properties along Delta Beach

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Residents of Delta Beach, on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba, seemed resigned to their fate Monday.

Those living west of Highway 240 (16 permanent homes and 104 cottages) were issued a mandatory evacuation notice Sunday. Homeowners east of Highway 240 faced the grim reality they, too, would soon be forced from their homes.

Some residents ignored the evacuation order, saying they would stay put.

"Right now it's a threat, not a real need," said Andy Fletcher, who has a permanent home. "We don't know how much water is going to come into this marsh from the (Portage Diversion), but at this point, we can just monitor and try to determine just how quickly we need to react. It's not reaction time yet."

The Assiniboine River is expected to crest at the Portage Reservoir Wednesday morning, bringing with it the potential for a breach of the east dike at the south basin of Lake Manitoba. That prompted the RM to issue a voluntary evacuation notice to residents in the eastern half of Delta Beach.

Those cottagers and permanent residents were in a holding pattern Monday.

"We were looking forward to a nice summer, but here we go again," said Betty Granger, who was collecting sandbags for her cottage. "The marsh will probably flood and with the high lake levels, we're getting it from both sides now.

"It's really frustrating. I mean, why do Saskatchewan and the western part of Manitoba get to dump their water on us? They can't keep using this as a dumping ground."

Granger was preparing for the worst, but worried her hard work may not make a difference.

"It's going to be tough to deal with if we do flood again," she said. "It's not looking great."

Further up her street, Dennis Nodrick and Harvey Oakley enjoyed a conversation on a sunny deck. Nearby, crews were filling and placing giant sandbags to shore up the lone road to the eastern area to prevent a washout of Highway 240.

"We'll just wait and see what happens," Nodrick said. "Nothing we can do, other than hope."

In May 2011, the region was hit hard by flooding from the high water levels on the lake and even higher winds. Some remnants of that flood -- dead trees, patches of mud, cottages that appear abandoned -- remain, but Nodrick insisted the community is bouncing back.

"We've been hit so bad and everything was just starting to get back to normal," he said. "Everyone has worked so hard fixing up their properties. Now it looks like we might be back to square one. It's disappointing to say the least."

Oakley, who's been at Delta Beach for 35 years, said he's built and rebuilt and doesn't expect to see a reprieve from flooding until next year.

"We're going to be like this until freeze-up, and then we'll be going through this in the spring and next summer again," Oakley said. "There's just too much water. There's no reason the province can't help us out with another channel or diversion somewhere."

Asked why he continues to stay, Nodrick said: "We like it here," he said. "Besides, who would buy our place now with all this going on?"

 

-- with files from The Canadian Press

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2014 A4

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