Farmers, ranchers and other property owners from around Lake Manitoba are demanding funding they say they're owed following damaging floods in the area.
At an emotion-charged meeting at the Meadow Lea Community Centre near Marquette today, the stakeholders reminded Finance Minister Stan Struthers the provincial government made a promise last year to provide multi-year compensation for flooding dating back to 2011.
"Struthers indicated that the province would deliver a multi-year compensation program for producers and that's what we expect, but for 2012, that hasn't been delivered," said rancher Tom Teichroeb.
Teichroeb owns a cattle ranch just outside of Langruth, Man. CBC visited him last year and the damage wass still evident from the 2011 flood. He said he was compensated in 2011 but he's had to pay $80,000 out of his own pocket in 2012 to move his cattle to another ranch that was not flooded.
"I'm frustrated and so are the other people," he said.
Struthers told the crowd the province is not prepared to offer any further compensation until the federal government steps up. Ottawa has said the province hasn't applied for funding, which the province has denied.The property owners have received compensation for the flood two years ago — though many say they are still struggling to recoup from losses suffered in that disaster — but they say they haven't received any money for the flooding in 2012.
That has raised concerns that funding could again be delayed if the flooding recurs in 2013.
A flood forecast issued Thursday by the neighbouring U.S. state of North Dakota suggests parts of the southern Red River Valley can expect flooding for the next three years.
Mayor Wayne Arseny of Emerson, Man., just north of the border with North Dakota, is worried a spring blizzard could make matters worse.
Manitoba could also see high water levels because the topsoil is frozen solid.
Elsewhere, Souris Mayor Darryl Jackson said he is concerned about a report issued by SaskWater on Wednesday that a snow pack more than twice the normal level has built up there and in southwest Manitoba
That could mean trouble, he said, because all that run-off is heading to his community and there isn't permanent flood protection in place.
"A real quick melt with all the snow that they say is over there, any kind of rainfall event in the spring could put us in some jeopardy," he said.