While officials in the RMs of Cartier, Headingley and St. Francois Xavier are taking a "wait and see" approach to this year’s flood, that doesn’t mean they’re not prepared.
Cartier reeve Roland Rasmussen said the municipality has identified a few houses most at risk of flooding along the Assiniboine River and at large drainage areas on the La Salle River. As well, they’ve ordered 25,000 unfilled sand bags to add to the 25,000 they had on hand. Sand to fill the bags will be purchased if necessary.
"It’s too early to sandbag," he said, adding that the municipality has pumps at the ready.
St. Francois Xavier reeve Roger Poitras said previous years’ floods have provided knowledge about which local areas are most at risk.
"We’re confident that we have the plans and preparations in place," he said.
During the major flood of 2011, 68 homes in the municipalities were sandbagged, and Poitras said water levels didn’t reach most of those homes.
"At this point in time, the flood outlook for Headingley is relatively low," said Headingley CAO Chris Fulsher. "We are basically on standby."
The three municipalities continue to monitor the situation.
Poitras said Mother Nature is the wild card, as heavy precipitation could suddenly add to spring runoff and river water levels.
On March 26, the Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Hydrologic Forecast Centre issued a flood forecast that increased the previous forecast’s risk of flooding along the Assiniboine, Red and other major rivers. The higher predictions were compared to flooding that occurred in 2009, but not in 2011.
Mitch McCormick, municipal emergency measures co-ordinator for C.a.S.H., which includes the RMS of Cartier, St. Francois Xavier and Headingley, said homeowners are responsible for safeguarding their properties, and municipalities will help if necessary. His staff and volunteers will get involved if a municipality requests their help to establish a volunteer centre and organize volunteers for sandbagging, transportation and other services.
"If we’re needed, we’ll step in," he said.
He leads an emergency management team that meets once a month throughout the year. The team members are trained to assume a specific role if an emergency happens.
As well, the C.a.S.H. website at
www.cashmanitoba.com contains information on flood forecasts and other emergency situations.
Anyone wanting more information on emergency measures in the three municipalities can contact McCormick at Cash.firstname.lastname@example.org.