7 Manitoba communities to get permanent flood dikes
The Manitoba and federal governments will build permanent flood dikes for seven communities across the province.
Both levels of government announced Tuesday that they will upgrade or replace temporary dikes in Souris, Melita and the Rural Municipality of Arthur, Duck Bay, Waterhen and the rural municipalities of St. Clements and East and West St. Paul.
The temporary dikes were put in place in those communities following the floods in 2011.
Money left over from the expansion of the Red River Floodway will be spent to make the temporary dikes permanent, a project that will cost a total of $14.85 million.
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton and other officials made the announcement in a yard in West St. Paul that had a 3.7-metre sandbag dike during the 1997 flood.
Ashton said in the past, dikes had to be temporary in order to qualify for some federal funding.
"You have to tear it down after the event. People have said it didn't make sense," he told reporters.
"What this is doing is providing funding from both the federal and provincial governments along with funding from the municipalities to turn temporary dikes into permanent dikes."
The federal government says it will provide up to $6.75 million through its Building Canada Fund, while the province will give the same amount.
The seven municipalities will provide a total of $1.35 million toward the total eligible project cost.
Savings from the floodway will also be redirected to a second project that will be announced at a later date, according to both governments.
Ashton said investing in flood protection will save money in the long term.
"Every time we have a significant flood event we are making a significant difference, not only in terms of cost saving, but most importantly in terms of … the real challenges it places on the human side," he said.
Once completed, the work will protect areas outside the floodway from a one-in-700-year flood event, Ashton said.