Flooding triggers relocation call on Man. reserve

The chief of a flooded-out Manitoba First Nation is recommending the community relocate to higher ground.

The chief of a flooded-out Manitoba First Nation is recommending the community relocate to higher ground. 

Wicked winds and wet weather triggered overland flooding in areas of the province along Lake Winnipeg's shoreline Wednesday. 

The water forced 16 Sagkeeng First Nation families from their homes, Chief Donavan Fontaine said.

Crews worked overnight Wednesday to keep overland flood water from Lake Winnipeg from deluging the reserve community, located 150 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

At one point, the local school was threatened, Fontaine said, but kids were able to attend Thursday.

But what they're seeing isn't at all pretty, he suggested.

"Kids are looking at a disaster area as we speak. It just looks like a war zone," Fontaine said. "There's debris everywhere and homes are abandoned. It just looks sad."

Resident Marilyn Courchene said she and her family are being put up a motel. This is the fourth time their home has been flooded, she said.

Water levels around her home Wednesday night reached more than 1.5 metres, she added.

Fontaine said he's urging people on the reserve to consider relocating.

"It's hard when you have family ties, connections to the land," he said. "But a lot of that land now is in the water anyway. I'll be urging our people to accept a relocation. We'll have to relocate them."

But Courchene said the idea doesn't sit well with her.

"There's a lot of water last night that was crashing into the windows and of course you're going to be afraid … but why should we have to move and suffer?," she asked.

Peguis reserve also deluged

In Peguis First Nation, there are fears flood waters will wash out the main road in and out of the community.

Chief Glenn Hudson said it's the third time this year his community has flooded. Thursday, crews were attempting to pump water from 25 homes.

The water came so quickly, it was too late to make dikes from sandbags, Hudson said.

"[It's] the third time this year and first time we've ever had fall flooding, and I know our children are out of school once again for the second day in a row because of the flooding," he said.

Some in the community had only just returned to their homes after repairs were made following spring floods, Hudson said.

Peguis is located 145 kilometres north of Winnipeg.