Brandon prepares for flood as Assiniboine River approaches peak
Published Monday, April 10, 2017 7:55AM CST Last Updated Monday, April 10, 2017 10:30AM CST
Dave Barnes lives on a property near the river where he also taps maple trees to make syrup. On Sunday, 50 to 60 people spent the day building a sandbag dike.
Emergency officials are preparing for the Assiniboine River to crest today in Brandon.
The river was sitting at 1,179.24 feet above sea level at 1st Street as of Monday morning. Officials are prepared for a peak of around 1,180 feet above sea level.
Brandon's earthen dike system sits at an elevation of 1,186 feet above sea level, which would provide three feet of free board above the highest river level the city experienced during the summer flood of 2014.
Homeowners have been sandbagging. A clay dike has been closed at Grand Valley Road along 18th Street North.
Manitoba Infrastructure has placed aqua dams along 1st Street North, but officials don't expect the road will have to be closed.
The city does not expect anyone will need to leave their homes at this time.
Manitoba Infrastructure has placed aqua dams along 1st Street North. (Photo: Leslie Davis)
"We've got crews that are on duty 24/7 that are basically going from site to site checking that everything's OK,” said Brian Kayes, emergency co-ordinator for the City of Brandon. “The pumps are fueled, up if they've been running at all, and just everything's ready to go."
Dave Barnes lives on a property near the river where he also taps maple trees to make syrup. On Sunday, 50 to 60 people spent the day building a sandbag dike, which he’s hopeful will be more than sufficient to hold back the water.
“It’s definitely overkill, in the best sense,” he said.
Barnes has lived on the property since 2004. He remembers flooding in 2011 and 2014, when the dike needed to be two feet higher.
“That was quite stressful, to say the least. But today it’s feeling pretty sweet.”
Barnes served pancakes and syrup to the volunteers who came out to help him. He’s grateful to the people of Brandon for responding to the call for sandbaggers, but he feels the province should have given more warning about the oncoming water.
“I was given three days’ notice of four feet of water. Now, that’s not fair,” he said.
Once the river hits its peak level, Kayes said the city will continue to be on high alert.