Study finds $1B needed to shore up Manitoba flood protection

WINNIPEG -- A report commissioned by Manitoba warns flood protection in the province has dozens of significant weaknesses and needs $1 billion in upgrades now to prevent billions in damage down the road.

See Full Article

The 1,600-page study details more than 100 vulnerabilities.

It says defences along the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg are particularly weak and suggests that a flood in the area has the potential to cause up to $2 billion in damage if they fail.

In 2014, Manitoba had to declare a state of emergency and ask the military for sandbagging help when floodwater poured into the Assiniboine River watershed from Saskatchewan.

The province was also battered by one of the worst floods in its history in 2011. Army reservists scrambled to help shore up weakened dikes and sandbag homes along the Assiniboine River.

"The flood of 2011 highlighted several potential weak links in the existing flood-control systems. The shortcomings of the system were emphasized again in 2014," says the study by engineering firm KGS Group.

"This escalating trend of flood damages in southwestern Manitoba indicated the need for refocusing on the possible expansion of the flood-protection system that has served the province so well in the past."

The Portage diversion -- a channel that moves water from the river to Lake Manitoba -- needs $373 million in upgrades alone, the report says. The diversion has been pushed to over-capacity in recent years and risks mechanical failure, it says.

Without upgrades, there is a "potential inability to operate the control structure."

The report says dikes along the riverbank also need "urgent attention and upgrading" worth $273 million.

The province's emergency preparedness is also vulnerable, the study suggests. An unprecedented flood might require mass evacuations, including from the city of Winnipeg, and officials need to prepare for a dike breach or electrical failure which could affect flood-control structures.

"Evacuation on a large scale has not been planned and execution would be fraught with difficulties without prior planning."

It's partly a matter of looking ahead, the report says.

"It may be that such an extreme flood might not occur in southern Manitoba for many years," the study says. "By that time, many of the engineers/planners/officials who currently have the first-hand knowledge provided by direct experience will no longer be available."

Premier Greg Selinger said the upgrades have been on the government's radar for a while and are a huge -- but necessary -- investment.

"A community under water has no economy, so we have to move forward," he said Wednesday. "We've always known that we're going to have a very significant investment required to protect these communities."

The NDP raised Manitoba's provincial sales tax to eight from seven per cent in 2013, arguing the increase was necessary to pay for needed infrastructure.

"We need to do it now because you never know when that next major flood could occur."

Opposition Conservative Reg Helwer said the government has ignored flood infrastructure along the Assiniboine River for years. Now, he said, it's paying the price.

"There are critical hotspots that need to be addressed," said Helwer, who wouldn't say what his party would do.

"Those are areas we would look at investing in once we've figured out where this government has spent all the money."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Transgender people can enlist in the U.S. military on Jan. 1

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Source
  • Victory over Islamic State declared, worry is now guerrilla warfare

    World News CBC News
    Welcome to The National Today, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here under "Subscribe to The National's newsletter," and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday. Source
  • Relatives of murdered seniors set to ask to take part in public inquiry

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Relatives of murdered seniors, along with advocacy and health-care groups, are among four dozen applicants seeking to participate in a public inquiry sparked by a nurse who killed eight elderly long-term-care residents in Ontario. Source
  • B.C. man charged with animal cruelty after dog nearly dies of fleas

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An advocacy group says an animal cruelty charge has been laid against a British Columbia man after a dog nearly died of a serious flea infestation. The SPCA says in a release that an older terrier named Rascal was rushed to an animal hospital on Vancouver Island earlier this year after losing about 85 per cent of his blood to fleas. Source
  • 'Tis the season for doorstep stealing? Shoppers vent about delivery security

    Canada News CBC News
    Todd Bailey is fed up with delivery companies that drop his online purchases at his door. A few years ago, the Grande Prairie, Alta., resident was at the hospital for the birth of his child when a big-screen TV he had ordered was left on his front stoop. Source
  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay mayor made superhuman effort to get help after being shot

    Canada News CTV News
    HAPPY VALLEY GOOSE BAY, N.L. -- Friends of a Labrador mayor say he somehow got on a snowmobile and reached a nearby highway to flag down help after he was shot in the lower face while hunting. Source
  • Sask. man sentenced after threatening online to 'blow out' Justin Trudeau's brains

    Canada News CBC News
    A Saskatchewan man has received a two-year suspended sentence for making online threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Derek Hurrell, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of uttering threats earlier this year. According to the Crown prosecutor, Hurrell posted on Facebook stating he wanted to "blow out" Justin Trudeau's brains. Source
  • Women who accuse Trump of sexual misconduct call for Capitol Hill investigation

    World News CBC News
    Three women who have previously accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment shared their stories Monday on NBC's Megyn Kelly Today. Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks told of alleged harassment by Trump spanning decades. Source
  • Ex-contractor says he shut Trump's Twitter account by accident

    World News CBC News
    The contractor who shut down Donald Trump's Twitter account has told Reuters he did so by mistake, but says he believes some of the U.S. president's recent tweets breach the social network's ban on hate speech. Source
  • Man, 24, arrested for trying to climb Buckingham Palace wall

    World News CTV News
    London police say they have arrested a 24-year-old-man who allegedly tried to climb a wall outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday night. The Metropolitan Police said Monday the suspect didn't have any weapons on him and "the incident is not being treated as terrorist related. Source