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Homeowners flood fears eased

Homes taken off sandbagging list as flood outlook improves

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In the 51 years of living on a tiny peninsula in Woodhaven where the Sturgeon Creek dumps into the Assiniboine River, Lavina Glass has surprisingly never had much to worry about when it comes to spring flooding.


That was until earlier this year when the city and province told her she should begin planning to sandbag her home in anticipation of this year’s flood.


"I was on a list of a number of homes that were going to get dikes… about 600 names, which was unusual, because this river just does not flood that badly," said Glass. "But we waited very carefully."


They city later eased her fears at the end of March, saying her home would not need a dike after all.


That was after Glass enlisted her sons to potentially help sandbag and cleared out her basement.


"I’ve got something like four or five thousand magazines," she said. "Oh yeah, we were worried. I had everything arranged."


As more than 100 homeowners along the Red River in south Winnipeg scrambled to build dikes to protect their houses last week, only a handful of homes along the Assiniboine were told to build dikes, mostly downtown, according to city flood maps.


On April 8, a private company was rushing to move 400 tons of gravel behind a condominium complex on Wellington Crescent, as the Assiniboine threatened to spill over its banks, according to a Winnipeg Free Press report.


And for the most part, Woodhaven residents along the Assiniboine were hardly worried about the river flooding much at all to begin with.


"In the fall, (the river) was really high," admitted resident Brenda Macdonald.


"But we’ve been here for five and a half years and never have had a problem. The people before us, they built the house, and were here since 1950, and they never had a flood.


"This area is one of the highest in the city, so if we get flooded, the whole city will get flooded," she added.


Water levels on the Assiniboine are regulated with the help of the Portage Diversion, which redirects water into Lake Manitoba. Water levels were high in the fall as the province was discharging water from Lake of the Prairies, north of Russell, to create capacity in the Shellmouth Reservoir, in preparation for the flood.


What both Glass and Macdonald do fear, however, is the potential for ice jams on the Red River to back up the Assiniboine, or for ice jams to build up at the Moray Street Bridge.


"(The river) does back up (at the bridge)," said Macdonald, noting that it could send water a few feet further into her yard.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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