Transcona councillor Russ Wyatt left the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference Toronto on Sunday to deal with irate constituents inundated by weekend rain.

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Transcona councillor Russ Wyatt left the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference Toronto on Sunday to deal with irate constituents inundated by weekend rain.

Wyatt said his phone started ringing late Saturday night and hasn’t stopped. Residents have been voicing complaints and concerns about the city’s response to overflowing ditches and water in basements.

Russ Wyatt

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Russ Wyatt

"I realize everybody’s being pushed to the limits here in terms of what’s going on," Wyatt told the Free Press this morning.

"We had a major storm ... and we have homes with sewage in their basements and homes where water has come in overland because ditches were so full.

"I think everybody’s frustrated, including myself, but we need to ensure the entire system of the city is doing everything it can. (Transcona residents) are just as important as the area of the city where the mayor lives. We have to do everything we can."

Wyatt said he had no choice but  to leave the FCM conference and fly home from Toronto on Sunday.

"You gotta be here and do your job to ensure city is doing everything it can," Wyatt said. "Staying at the conference was not the right thing to do."

Wyatt said he was about to go into a morning meeting at city hall about the response to the water issues.

"I need to hear the city is doing everything it can for people who have suffered damage to basements and belongings, that everything is being done to assist them," Wyatt said. "Sometimes, that’s just information about what happened and what’s being done to prevent this from happening again. Or how long it will take for ditches to drain.

"I just think there was a frustration for a while there that there was nobody around. I know the city was scrambling to do everything it can but in this time of fiscal restraint, there’s always a hesitancy from senior staff to call people in for overtime.

"When there’s an emergency, there should not be hesitation; just call them in."

Wyatt said he was troubled by reports that city 311 operators were arguing with callers.

"If this is how we’re handling a smaller emergency in the big scheme of things, God help us."