Province disperses sandbags in flood fight

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Thousands of sandbags are being deployed to communities across Manitoba in the wake of significant overland flooding and recent heavy rain.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/04/2022 (217 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thousands of sandbags are being deployed to communities across Manitoba in the wake of significant overland flooding and recent heavy rain.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said the provincial government has sent a total of 30,000 sandbags to municipalities for distribution to property owners, while pumping systems are being rolled out in areas hit hard by overland flooding.

The province is also co-ordinating with communities that have declared local states of emergency, including the rural municipalities of Cartier and Headingley, while work is underway to close dikes in high-risk areas, including St. Adolphe, Piwniuk said.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES A Winnipegger picks up free sandbags offered by the city in March. The provincial government has sent a total of 30,000 sandbags to municipalities for distribution to property owners, while pumping systems are being rolled out in areas hit hard by overland flooding due to the recent storms.

“Our provincial staff continue to monitor provincial drains and intervene where necessary to remove obstructions and restore flow in order to reduce the threat of localized flooding,” Piwniuk said Monday in a statement to the Manitoba legislative assembly.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the province must be prepared to call a broad state of emergency and ask for assistance from the federal government at a “moment’s notice,” should the situation deteriorate.

“We already have some very serious flooding. There are people who have been without power for days, huge amounts of snow in some parts of the province and widespread overland flooding,” Lamont said.

“The major thing for us is making sure that the province is ready and willing to call a state of emergency, ask for federal help, but also step up with funding for municipalities.”

Meanwhile, more than 6,000 people were without power as of Monday evening, according to Manitoba Hydro.

Michael Espenell, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2034, said “significant staffing reductions” at Hydro over recent years has left fewer workers to respond to major weather events.

“So it has left us short handed at many points in time, where we have people timing out or having to take rest periods, and then the problem is that leaves customers without power for extended periods of time,” Espenell said.

“It’s been an issue that’s almost become the new norm.”

Espenell joined the Manitoba NDP at the legislative building Monday to oppose Bill 36 (Manitoba Hydro Amendment and Public Utilities Board Amendment Act).

“We’d like to see better investment in keeping or retaining staff and keeping up with our hiring quotas and succession plans that have been long standing and held static for the last three or four years,” he said.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva
Reporter

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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