Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

St. Laurent's public-housing tenants irate

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FAMILIES in Manitoba Housing in St. Laurent say they're the only ones left and they've been abandoned in the flood zone.

"Right now, all our houses are surrounded by water," said resident Mike Hunter. He and his wife have four kids.

Flood Fight

"We're not allowed to have pools over two feet deep, but our kids can't go outside and play," said Hunter. "All of us have kids around here."

There are about 15 families in Manitoba Housing in St. Laurent, he said. They're concerned about the quality of the drinking water there, but he hasn't been able to get the test results, Hunter said. "We can't get any answers."

In the meantime, they feel trapped -- with no vehicle to flee from a major deluge and no means or opportunity to take shelter somewhere nearby, he said.

"Manitoba Housing offered to move us from a five-bedroom to a three-bedroom in Ashern," he said. The family just moved to St. Laurent from Riverton last year, and he and his wife don't want their kids to have to move again, he said.

"It's very depressing around here. Everybody is uptight."

The RM of St. Laurent told him he's not allowed to sandbag the provincially owned and rent-subsidized bungalow, said Hunter.

Manitoba Housing said any evacuation order has to come from the RM of St. Laurent.

"Tenants displaced due to flooding, for the most part, would be provided with accommodations/funds for accommodations," a provincial spokesman said in an email. "However, Manitoba Housing will work with tenants who are unable to return to their homes."

Reeve Earl Zotter was not immediately available for comment.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2011 A6

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