Construction to begin on access road for Lake Manitoba outlet channel
Published Monday, April 16, 2018 10:41AM CST
Last Updated Monday, April 16, 2018 6:34PM CST
Wind, waves and washed out. Lilli Schneider will never forget the end of May, 2011
"We got flooded, we had a tsunami,” said Schneider.
The devastation wiped out many lakefront cabins and homes on Lake Manitoba. It took Schneider two years to rebuild.
“This was ground zero here,” said Schneider, adding that “a lot of the big cottages to the north of me -- they were swept right into the marsh."
The Twin Lakes Beach resident was one of a few dozen who attended a town hall in St. Laurent Monday with Premier Brian Pallister. The premier pledged a $540-million outlet to drain Lake Manitoba, to prevent flooding, will get underway. The project is being cost shared by Manitoba and Ottawa.
"It's time for governments to get their act together and it's time to get this thing built," said Pallister.
Construction of an access road will start this year. The long range plan will see two channels dug, one from Lake Manitoba to Lake St. Martin, the second from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg.
But some here worry the plan is too vague and they've heard promises before.
Farmer David Gall says the outlet is needed.
"90 per cent of our hay fields were flooded," said Gall.
His farm is set to be expropriated for the project. Seven years since the flood, he's still waiting to be bought out. Gall says the uncertainty is stressful.
“We have no closure, we don't know what our futures are going to be like," said Gall.
Premier Pallister says to get shovels in the ground a year earlier, he's asking Ottawa to skip an environmental approval process.
"I've got a billion plus reasons just in the last five years why we shouldn't delay this and that is just in the claim numbers, the uncertainty for people around this basin has been real for decades," said Pallister.
Lilli Schneider agrees sooner is better than later, because she doesn't want a repeat of 2011.
“It wasn't a river flood, it was a lake flood, the water sat here for five months, it was horrible,” said Schneider.
Pallister says his goal is to see work on the outlet begin next year.