Some people who live along the Red River near Selkirk say not enough is being done to ward off spring flooding.

John Anderson, who lives 15 kilometres north of Selkirk on the river, said the amphibexes breaking up the ice over the last few weeks have left narrow passages.

ice cutting path

The man in charge of amphibex operations, Darrell Kupchik of North Red Waterway Maintenance, released this aerial photo taken this week of the work amphibex crews have done near Selkirk. (Darrell Kupchik/North Red Waterway Maintenance )

Anderson fears the ice will jam there and cause flooding similar to what happened in 2009. That year, ice jamming on the Red destroyed a number of homes and forced the evacuation of 40 people. 

It prompted the province to boost its fleet of amphibexes. 

But Anderson said it's the amphibex crews themselves who have now left conditions that could lead to the very situation they are meant to prevent. 

"There's a narrow swath as far as I can see both ways on the river," he said. "It's approximately a 100 feet wide, maybe 30 meters. When I drive further south, I notice that the swath is actually 300 feet across

[100 meters]. It's much much wider. And what happened in '09 is these large areas that they left unbroken would come across the river and create ice jams and back up the water. And that in fact flooded us in '09 and flooded a number of other people out here."
breezy point

Massive ice floes from the Red River destroyed homes north of Winnipeg in 2009. (CBC)

Anderson wants the company responsible for the work to break more ice until the channel is widened.

"I don't understand," he said. "If the equipment is there, if the man power is there, just come back and finish the job properly."

But the director of operations for the amphibex program with North Red Waterway Maintenance, Darrell Kupchick, said the channel is symmetrical and the job has been done properly. 

The amphibexes are to be redeployed to other areas in need of ice-breaking. 

Anderson said that's not right. 

"We shouldn't decide which areas to save and which areas should get flood protection," he said. "We all pay our taxes and should all be afforded the same protection."