A Powerview-Pine Falls couple wants Manitoba Hydro to fix the riverbank on their property or buy them out after more than three metres of their shoreline dropped into the Winnipeg river this weekend.
Linda Desautels and her husband Maurice have a property near a dam in Powerview-Pine Falls, about 119 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Desautels said the dam has caused massive erosion over the last 20 years, and this weekend was the tipping point.
"This weekend, it was like a 10-foot drop. Bang! A big piece went missing, and it's going along the shoreline into the neighbours and yeah, like it's really getting bad," Desautels said. "It was heartbreaking. I had tears in my eyes."
"This weekend, it was like a 10-foot drop. Bang!" - Linda Desautels
The family has been battling Manitoba Hydro on the erosion issue for years, but Hydro officials say the erosion is due to natural causes — not the dam.
"Either they fix it or buy us out because right now we are ready to retire and sell," Desautels said. "But we're not going to get anything for the house because of the river banks."
She said the erosion has been an issue since 1991. The couple reached out to Manitoba Hydro but said the company won't claim responsibility.
"We're fighting a losing battle it seems," said Desautels.
Scott Powell, a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro, said the company is sympathetic to the fact that the couple is dealing with erosion, but it's not the dam that's causing it.
"It's the soil, shoreline. There's no rock, there's nothing there. We don't believe the Pine Falls generating station has caused or significantly impacted any erosion activity down stream of where our licence limits are," said Powell. "As such, there is no obligation to perform bank protection work in that area. In fact, it's a difficult situation, and you'll see erosion like that on the Red River on the shorelines here in Winnipeg, exactly the same."
The company suggests the couple hire a contractor or engineer to stabilize the shoreline, but Desautels said Hydro has helped other homeowners just down the road.
"They've bought out houses because of the erosion, and they will not do anything for us," she said. "Hydro is just closing their ears on this ... they're just picking and choosing."