Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
We received a flood of letters Have Your Say:
The flooding problems of the Red River are again causing people to be evacuated and brought to Winnipeg to wait out the effects. I noticed that some were being put up at a downtown Winnipeg hotel.
It has been said that as many as 500 people may have to be evacuated. The Kapyong Barracks have a full range of basic facilities that could accommodate these people with ease. There are barracks rooms and private rooms, full convenience facilities and kitchen facilities that could feed an army. Actually, it has fed an army.
We are already paying for this facility and I think an appeal to the Red Cross or other social agency would see the facility come alive and provide safe, temporary and comfortable accommodations for the people until they can get back home. This process is designed to provide short-term accommodations, not a holiday at a full-service hotel.
Who's really to blame?
Those who don't like the aesthetics of permanent flood barriers can undertake the costs of spring flood protection. Building on low land next to a flood-prone river is a risky undertaking. Taxpayers should not have to offset the risks taken by people who demand an unimpeded river view. The municipalities that issued building permits on flood-prone land should cover the costs of permanent flood barriers and put this spring flood angst behind us for good.
Remember global warming
With the recent flood warnings and the crazy weather we have been having lately, asking whether global warming is playing a role isn't a bad question. Although all of us have heard of global warming and the effects it can cause to our environment, we are rarely told what we as individuals could do to positively help this problem. Although we may think that we are only one person and that our actions don't matter, people should be informed that they do matter.
Some little things that people could be doing to help slow greenhouse gas emissions include the following: car pooling, riding a bike, composting, eating more organic and local foods, watching the amount of waste we throw away, recycling and basically anything else you can think of that you aren't already doing.
It is important for people around the globe to understand that we only have one environment and if we continue to ruin it day by day due to our greenhouse gas emissions, we won't have much of it left. We owe it to our future generations to leave them with as many resources as we had when we first began to live here. Global warming is a human problem, therefore we need a human resolution. So do your part and help to lower the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Grab a bag, Terry
Why does Chief Terry Nelson get a free ride from the media? Did you hear his quote on CBC (April 1) when he was asked why he was away while there was a state of emergency at Roseau River First Nation and it was being evacuated? His response, "Well, what do you want me to do? Sandbag?" Uh, yeah, I do. Nelson went on to say he's conducting business in Minnesota that would make his reserve "financially self-sufficient."
No followup questions were asked. I have a couple: 1) Do you think that you are above having to help with sandbagging, when your reserve is in danger of flooding? 2) By self-sufficient, you mean that you will take no government tax dollars? What is your plan to do that? I'm sure that the residents who were either sandbagging or evacuated would love to know the answer to both those questions. As a taxpayer, I'd really like to know the answer to the second question.
Now, I'll reiterate my question to the Winnipeg media: Why does Terry Nelson get a free ride? I can guarantee that the media wouldn't put up with arrogance like that from Gary Doer or Sam Katz.
Thanks for saving our pet
We would like to thank the fire and rescue personnel who saved our pet Rottweiler from the Red River. Our dog went through the ice and he was in the water for a good 30 to 45 minutes. I just want to say thank you for helping and just want to also say thanks to the young man for holding our other dog and keeping him away from the water.
Greg and Paulette Goulet
Please clean up the mess
The threat of flood is imminent in southern Manitoba and most especially the Winnipeg area. Money and effort are being spent to save property damage. One of the things forgotten in times of emergency is the need for cleanup when the emergency is over.
The Portage Diversion was created some 40 years ago to prevent damage to a major urban area. Lake Manitoba and the south basin are inundated with mud and debris to accommodate the emergency. Every year, the diversion has been opened the cottagers on the south basin have been forced to argue and fight to have the governing bodies clean up the intolerable mess. Many years the cottagers and homeowners foot the bill themselves because they can no longer wait for assistance.
It is long overdue for the Winnipeg, provincial and municipal levels of government to take care of the mess they have created out of the necessary efforts to save Winnipeg by putting in place budgetary clean up measures for this area.
Poor decision on bridge
Daily the Free Press reports on the progress of the Red River as the spring floodwaters move northward. Within the city, winter ice is still covering most of the river and just as in the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements, the danger of ice jams menaces the safety of the city. Many Winnipeggers are in a quandary. More than $600 million has been expended on floodway expansion and it cannot be used.
Water Resources has indicated activating the floodway gates would direct ice into the floodway and could create a possible ice jam at the St. Mary's Road bridge. A jam at this location would begin to artificially flood residents south of the control gates and the City of Winnipeg would have to resort to extensive emergency diking.
However, the question must be asked: Why was the St. Mary's Road bridge not raised like those to the east and north?
This structure is the first bridge immediately next to the control structure at the floodway entrance. This bridge was one of the first projects to be removed from the expansion infrastructure as a cost-saving measure.
Today, Winnipeg sits vulnerable to disaster because bureaucrats and politicians made some questionable decisions that could now spell disaster. The excuse of unforeseen or extraordinary weather conditions cannot be used.
The Manitoba Floodway Authority has proudly maintained the floodway expansion will provide a 700-year level of protection for Winnipeg. It appears the authors of this hypothesis were unable to take into account weather conditions similar to the spring of 2009.
Give your workers time off
When you run a business or manage any sort of operation, you work hard at co-ordinating the "dance of business" to get things done. The better the dance, the more efficiently you can operate. Every once in a while though, we see magic -- I mean real magic. This was exactly my experience when I decided to take the day off, volunteered my staff and spent the day sandbagging at St. Andrews.
I challenge other businesses to offer their staff a day or two working in the sand to save a part of our community. Not only will you get a sense of pride, you'll also be helping someone out who needs it. See what it feels to be a real Canadian again.
Penny wise, pound foolish
As the Red River flood stage approaches Manitoba and Winnipeg, Dan Lett points out the folly of governments that are loath to introduce any programs that would require additional tax-supported dollars (At times, it takes a natural disaster, April 1).
Winnipeg's city council recently finalized its proposed current budget, and our councillors seem to have fallen over each other to proudly proclaim that the new budget will mean the 12th year in a row that residential tax rates have not gone up.
As a result, it appears that Mayor Sam Katz can once again brag that he has successfully blocked any commencement of a rapid transit program in his city, since that would cost too much money. His efforts have not gone unrewarded.
Our existing transit system is not nearly as efficient or as useful as it was just 20 years ago, and actually pales in comparison with its efficiency 40 years ago. But the current problem appears to be that the City of Winnipeg cannot afford anything better. Rush-hour traffic jams are now commonplace, as more and more former customers of the transit system switch to automobiles.
No wonder. It seems every couple of years, there is an announcement that the transit system's financial losses are growing too high, and to combat that, our city council springs into action. Fares are increased and services curtailed. So naturally, every time this happens, a portion of city bus passengers give up on public transit and starts driving to work. And city councillors brag at election time how they have once again frozen property taxes for another year, even as the traffic jams become more prolonged. Their efforts also do not go unrewarded. Most of them are routinely re-elected on the "all-important" basis that our taxes are still frozen (at least our property taxes are).
I have just one question: Does Mayor Sam Katz have an assigned parking space close to his office?
Ice is the problem
It seems the federal government has recently acquired a brand new hovercraft to battle ice in the St. Lawrence River. See the article link at: http://www.canada.com/Canadian+Coast+Guard+hovercraft+coming+from+England/1340168/story.html.
Why can't our government ask the feds to grant us the old ice-breaking hovercraft (about to be decommissioned) to do battle with our ice jams? It is ice that has prevented the floodway from opening. It is ice that has caused the majority of flooding so far in southern Manitoba and the threat to the city of Winnipeg. It is ice that will continue to beleaguer us down the river as the ice jams remain impenetrable.
Sorry, but the amphibexes just don't "cut it"!
Let's acquire this surplus hovercraft as soon as possible and stop messing around with these ineffective Dinky toys. The hovercraft should come at no expense to the province, as the Red River is a federally controlled waterway.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 3, 2009 A11
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