A seating area and steps that would usually lead to the riverwalk were flooded out on Thursday. (James Turner/CBC)

Constant flooding of The Forks' riverwalk and port in Winnipeg has prompted officials to look at redesigning the area.

The docks and footpath at the popular marketplace were designed in the late 1980s when the area flooded less frequently — mainly for a few weeks when the rivers were swollen from spring melt.


The Forks riverwalk provides a picturesque view, when it isn't under water. ((theforks.com))

But now it seems to be a summer routine. The area has been submerged for most of the past six months and the water taxi, which serves seven docks along its route through the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, has not been able to operate this year.

The Splash Dash tour buses, which are the same craft, have been on the water but the taxi service has not been operational because the water was too high to put out the docks.

In 2009, the taxi service didn't start until nearly August. It is supposed to start in May.

The Assiniboine Riverwalk winds along the riverbanks from underneath Esplanade Riel all the way to the foot of the Manitoba Legislature — and features interpretive plaques explaining the area's significance as a historical fur trading location and for early railroad development.

The river level this year has been so high at times that no signs of the riverwalk or the port, where boaters can dock and the public can feed ducks, were visible.

Paul Jordan, the chief operating officer at The Forks, says they can't fight the water any more.

"What's changed is the way the rivers are acting. Whether it's climate change or increased drainage or whatever, it has changed. It's here and we've got to deal with it," he said.

He has asked the province to use the Red River Floodway to regulate the river level, but he says that doesn't appear to be an option. So now he is discussing a redesign of the port with the original architect, Steve Cohlmeyer.

With files from CBC's Meaghan Ketcheson