Manitoba First Nation files $100M lawsuit over 2011 flood
Dauphin River First Nation suit brings number of lawsuits over 2011 flood to 4
The Dauphin River First Nation is suing the Manitoba government for damages stemming from the flood of 2011, which has made much of the community uninhabitable.
Officials with the First Nation, located near Lake Winnipeg, are claiming $100 million in damages, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.
The Dauphin River suit means the province is now facing four lawsuits, with damages totaling $1.3 billion, related to the 2011 flood.
Court documents indicate that the Manitoba government faces nearly a dozen more flood lawsuits dating back to 1997.
"They're under siege. They're being sued on all sides," said Russell Raikes, a London, Ont., lawyer who is involved in a class-action lawsuit involving individuals from Dauphin River and three other flooded First Nations.
"They got a big problem, they got a big mess, and the best way to deal with it is to get talking. We're not doing that yet," he added.
The $950-million class action was filed in April 2012 on behalf of residents from the Dauphin River, Little Saskatchewan, Pinaymootang and Lake St. Martin First Nations.
It claims the government was negligent in its operation of a number of water-control structures, including the Shellmouth Dam and the Portage Diversion, causing excessive flooding in their reserves as a result.
The province is expected to file a statement of defence, in response to the class-action lawsuit, later this week.
The allegations contained in the lawsuits have not been proven in court.
No one from the Dauphin River First Nation would comment publicly on the suits.
Last month, flood victims from Lake Manitoba launched a $260-million lawsuit against the province, claiming that too much water was sent into the area, flood land that was already saturated.
'This destroyed my community,' says chief
For the last two years, members of the First Nation have been housed in hotels while homes and buildings on the reserve grow mouldy and deteriorate.
"This destroyed my community," Chief John Stagg told CBC News during a recent trip to the community.
First Nation member Christine Sumner recently visited her house, which she learned has been condemned. Still, she said she was glad to be home.
"When I open the window, I want to breathe in the fresh air," she said.
Her nephew, Leonard Sumner, has stayed in the First Nation to keep watch over the community.
"It's kind of ghostly here, a ghostly feeling," he said.