New Lake Manitoba outlet at least 7 years away, province says
Minister Steve Ashton says Manitobans can expect more information on a second outlet in September
While people living on Lake Manitoba are on high alert, provincial officials are saying it could be at least seven years before a permanent solution for high water levels on the lake is built.
High water levels combined with wind warnings over the weekend have frayed nerves at Delta Beach and in the RM of St. Laurent.
Crews are busy working to build sandbags to protect their properties in case another storm hits.
“There’s no staying calm about anything because you’re looking out to see how bad it’s going to be,” said homeowner Brian Oliver.
Oliver is hoping a wall of super sand bags will protect his Twin Lakes Beach property.
In 2011, Oliver’s home was damaged, and he was forced to leave for a year. Now, he’s worried water being pushed through the Portage Diversion will cause it to happen again.
“Help us get rid of some of this water! We can’t always be a dumping ground. This is our home,” he said.
Residents in St. Laurent and Delta Beach have expressed frustration in recent weeks that the province has yet to build a second outlet or channel for Lake Manitoba.
On Monday, Manitoba’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Steve Ashton, said there are plans in the works for that channel, but they won’t come to fruition any time soon.
"I mean the experience is it can often take upwards of seven years because you have to get full approvals," said Ashton. "So that's your sort of virtual minimum period for design, environmental process and then you have to construct it."
Ashton said the province has committed from “day one” to do the engineering work and get the funds in place to build the channel but said, “It’s not a simple process.”
Ashton said the process requires federal regulatory approval and consultation with First Nations.
He said the province plans to release more information on the proposed outlet in September.