CBCnews
Story Tools: EMAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK | Bookmark and Share

Government might buy, not rebuild, some flood-prone homes

Last Updated: Monday, April 20, 2009 | 11:28 AM CT

The federal, provincial and municipal governments are looking to buy out some flooded homeowners north of Winnipeg rather than rebuild their damaged properties.

Steve Strang, mayor of the rural municipality of St. Clements, told CBC News that as many as 17 properties — some that have flooded several times — are being considered in the plan.

'Every time we have a major event like this, there are a lot of people's lives that are put at risk — not only the residents but the fire department, our emergency measures officer, our public works people. Council is saying enough.''—Steve Strang, mayor RM of St. Clements

"I had one gentleman stand in front of me and put up both hands when I asked how many times [he] flooded, indicating to me 10," said Strang. "I think he was kind of joking around but it still was multiple times. I know that since I have been around, [that property has] flooded three or four times in the last 13 years."

Strang said there are not concerns about mould issues in some rebuilt homes, but ongoing concerns about the risks posed to emergency officials when trying to rescue stranded residents.

"Every time we have a major event like this, there are a lot of people's lives that are put at risk — not only the residents but the fire department, our emergency measures officer, our public works people," said Strang. "Council is saying enough."

The cost of building protective dikes around the homes, coupled with the cost of compensating homeowners for the damage, nearly adds up to the same price to buy the homes outright, Strang said.

He would like to see a mandatory buyout program, rather than a voluntary one, but how it would be conducted hasn't been decided, he said.

Post flood review

Government officials from the province and municipalities will conduct a post-flood review in the coming weeks to discuss what could have been done better to prepare and protect properties, said Steve Ashton, Manitoba's minister for emergency measures.

"The challenge for some areas is it's not always possible to do permanent flood protection. Even in the Red River Valley, there were significant problems in a lot of areas," said Ashton.

In Winnipeg, permanent dikes have been erected since 1997 in many areas where homes are in low-lying areas outside of the primary dike system.

Sometimes, however, that is not a possible solution, said Ashton.

"If you have a large dike, it can create significant problems on bank stability, which could create erosion," he said. "We're already talking to municipalities north of Winnipeg because clearly there were homes that were protected to 1997 levels plus two feet … [but] ice jams created historic levels of flooding."

Flood facts of 2009

The 2009 crest of 6.9 m (22.5 feet) at James Avenue in Winnipeg was the second-highest since major flood control works began operation in 1969. The crest was 7.5 m (24.5 feet) in 1997.

The natural peak in Winnipeg, without provincial flood control measures, would have occurred Friday at 10.2 metres, which is 0.9 metres (three feet) higher than the great flood of 1950.

The actual level on Friday was 6.6 metres. That means the flood controls — Red River Floodway, Portage Diversion, and Shellmouth dam — reduced the water levels in Winnipeg by almost 3.7 metres (12 feet), according to provincial officials.

    Story Tools: EMAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK | Bookmark and Share
     

    Related

    Manitoba Headlines

    Winnipeg mom found guilty of manslaughter in death of infant son
    A Winnipeg jury took just four hours Thursday to find a mother guilty of manslaughter in the death of her infant son.
    Winnipeg war hero's medals to be auctioned off next month
    Part of Canada's military history could be sold to a foreign collector on May 25 when former Winnipeg resident Robert Shankland's First World War medals, including the Victoria Cross, are put up for auction in Toronto.
    Ottawa ready to help flooded First Nations: Chuck Strahl
    Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said Ottawa is ready to help Manitoba's First Nations communities hit hard by flooding, which forced 2,500 people from their homes, nearly half of whom were aboriginal people.
    Gordon Bell students may get their field of dreams
    The fate of vacant downtown parcel of land is close to being decided and students at a nearby high school have their fingers crossed.
    Boy rescued from culvert regains consciousness
    An eight-year-boy who was swept into a culvert by floodwaters and nearly drowned is recovering. Samuel Gross, who has been in a coma for the past 13 days, has regained consciousness and is speaking.

    Canada Headlines

    PM must press U.S. for Khadr's return from Guantanamo, court rules Video
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is required to press the United States to have Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr returned to Canada to "comply with a principle of fundamental justice," a Federal Court judge ruled Thursday.
    7 stowaways found on ship in Halifax Harbour
    Canadian border service agents are processing seven male stowaways found in a ship in Halifax Harbour Thursday night.
    Mounties trained to believe Tasers aren't fatal, inquiry hears
    The Mounties who confronted Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport and stunned him with a Taser were told in training there's no medical evidence the high-voltage device disrupts breathing or the heart, the officer who trained them testified.
    Alberta pulls 50 police Tasers, vows to test all
    Alberta will be testing all of its police Tasers after pulling 50 that failed to work properly in independent tests.
    Revenue Canada refuses to pay for million-dollar mistake Video
    A B.C. taxpayer who fought the Canada Revenue Agency over a million-dollar tax bill he didn't owe — and won — says the federal government misled him to believe he would be compensated for his financial losses.

    People who read this also read …

    Top CBCNews.ca Headlines

    Headlines

    Travel advisory warns of severe respiratory illness in Mexico Video
    Canadians who have recently returned from Mexico should be on alert for flu-like symptoms that could be connected to a severe respiratory illness, according to an advisory sent to health services across Canada.
    PM must press U.S. for Khadr's return from Guantanamo, court rules Video
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is required to press the United States to have Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr returned to Canada to "comply with a principle of fundamental justice," a Federal Court judge ruled Thursday.
    Chrysler-CAW deal likely by Friday, union head says
    The Canadian Auto Workers expects to have a deal with Chrysler by Friday morning, union president Ken Lewenza says.
    Canadian diplomats freed in Mali appear to be in good health Video
    Two Canadian diplomats, appearing to be in good health, met the Malian president Thursday, a day after they were released by abductors who had kidnapped them four months earlier in Niger.
    7 stowaways found on ship in Halifax Harbour
    Canadian border service agents are processing seven male stowaways found in a ship in Halifax Harbour Thursday night.

    News Features