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'Never seen this before': Homes in Manitoba community damaged by ice wall

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Homeowners in a Manitoba community are cleaning up after being impacted by a natural phenomenon last week.

An ice wall built up along the shore of Twins Lakes Beach on Lake Manitoba and winds pushed it inward, hitting and damaging several houses along the beach, located in the RM of St. Laurent.

“I've been here 62 years and I've never seen this before,” said Briant Fransoo, whose boathouse was destroyed by the ice.

"It's quite damaged inside there. The ice has gone all the way inside the boathouse, so it's pretty devastating."

He said he needs to wait for the ice to fully melt before he can see the full extent of what happened.

A map showing where Twin Lakes Beach is compared to Winnipeg. (CTV News Winnipeg)

Residents told CTV News Winnipeg it took all of three minutes for the ice wall to do damage.

Roger Gillis, the municipal emergency manager of the RM of St. Laurent, said ice walls occur when ice starts to break up in the spring melt, which then turns into a large mass, adding this happens quite regularly on Twin Lakes Beach.

During this incident, Gillis said 10 properties were damaged.

“It’s really not a major problem for us. We just accept it as it is,” he said. “It’s Mother Nature at (her) finest – an enormous amount of power.”

Gillis described the ice walls as an impressive spectacle and gorgeous when seen from the water, but added this doesn't usually happen so far north.

giant mounds of ice formed on the shore of Twin Lakes Beach on Lake Manitoba. April 22, 2024. (Danton Unger/CTV News Winnipeg)

“Unfortunately, when the ice comes to the shoreline, it just climbs right up. And it has such an enormous amount of power that it just plows right through,” he said.

Fransoo said he's thankful nobody was injured.

“We just sit and wait, we wait for the ice to melt,” he said. “And then, we start rebuilding the boathouse. And hopefully, we'll be back to normal in a couple of months.”

-With files from CTV’s Danton Unger

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