Manitoba Daily

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Whiteshell cottagers and residents are fighting rising floods

Whiteshell cottagers and residents are fighting rising floods.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hundreds of homes have been flooded in Whiteshell Provincial Park’s northern regions, triggering evacuation orders.
  • Premier Heather Stefanson and other government officials were given an aerial tour of the inundated Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Hundreds of houses are affected by floods in the northern areas of Whiteshell Provincial Park, prompting evacuation orders.

Otter Falls Resort owner Amy Vereb has been fighting to defend her property from rising seas. She’s been sandbagging and building a tiger dike, but it hasn’t been enough to keep the floodwaters at bay.

“It’s been completed. The campground has been breached. It was holding back water until about three days ago when an excessive amount of water began to flow in, “Vereb explained.

According to Vereb, this is the worst flooding she has ever seen in the neighborhood, far from over. She estimates that the area will receive another 2 feet of water in the following ten days.

“There are folks that are devastated out here. Their cabins are gone, and they’ve never had anything else, “Vereb explained. “It isn’t just cottage country for folks to visit in the summer and spring. This is how people’s lives are lived out here.”

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On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and other government officials got an airborne tour of Whiteshell Provincial Park, which is now flooded.

Stefanson stated they flew over Caddy Lake, West Hawk Lake, and Falcon Lake and saw various locations that were fully flooded and multiple homes.

“The amount of water out there is astounding,” Stefanson added. “Our hearts break for those who have been adversely affected.”

Water levels are still rising in the area, according to Stefanson.

“We have water flowing in from the south, and now water is coming in from the east. As a result, we’re surrounded by it, “Stefanson remarked. “It’s nothing new to Manitobans; I believe we’ve had floods before, but what’s different this time because it’s pouring from all sides.”

The province has called the evacuation of the northern portion of the park, which includes Sylvia, Eleanor, Nutimik, Betula Lakes, Otter Falls, and Barrier Bay after a state of local emergency was proclaimed in the Betula Lake area late last week.

While the province does not keep track of the precise number of persons affected by the evacuation orders, a representative for the province indicated that roughly 600 homes and 500 campsites are affected.

Whiteshell cottagers and residents are fighting rising floods.
Whiteshell cottagers and residents are fighting rising floods. Image from CBC News

Manitoba’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Doyle Piwniuk, said provincial assessments are needed before deciding what assistance would be provided to flood victims.

“Right now, we’re in response mode. We want to ensure that everyone is protected and safeguards their property to the greatest extent feasible, “Piwniuk explained.

Wab Kinew, the leader of the NDP, was also on the flyover that said what he witnessed was startling.

“Floodwater and evacuation orders have affected cottages, residences, businesses, and lodges. Our ideas are with everyone who is affected. There’s a lot of water out there, “Kinew stated.

Kinew also praised the efforts of government workers and emergency teams to assist the area in dealing with the flooding, stating that stepping up in difficult times is what defines Manitobans.

Due to the evacuation orders, Vereb’s resort is now closed.

“There’s a lot of destruction here. We require assistance, “she said. “We’re being shut down right now, but when this is all over, there will be a huge mess to clean up, and there won’t be a Whiteshell to visit this summer if we don’t clean up the damage.”

Her two children will stay with relatives, while she and her husband will remain at home to safeguard their home.

Source: CTV News

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