St. Laurent tries to attract summer residents after 2011 flood
One rural Manitoba municipality is still recovering from the flood of 2011 and officials are hoping to bring back the seasonal residents that used to spend summers in the area.
More than 700 properties were damaged in the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent during the 2011 flood, and some residents were forced out of their homes for upwards of seven months.
St. Laurent Reeve Earl Zotter says while residents have been rebuilding, at least one business has shut down and the local golf course is up for sale.
"It's just a matter of the beach people aren't here, the people that would normally be coming out and using the golf course and facilities — there just aren't the numbers," he told CBC News.
Through much of the spring in 2011, Lake Manitoba was being fed by floodwater from the bloated Assiniboine River in southern Manitoba. The water from the river was sent north to the lake via the Portage Diversion, a 29-kilometre channel that starts near Portage la Prairie.
As a result, the lake level was pushed to a record heights and coupled with a major storm, it spilled into cottages, businesses and across farms in nearby communities.
Zotter said some homes and cottages were never rebuilt, and operations such as the golf course rely on summer residents to survive.
"We're listed [at] about 1,305 permanent residents. I would say it doubles, maybe at times triples depending on what's going on, what the events are," he said.
"But the seasonal people do make the difference here. A lot of our businesses do rely on them."
Zotter said he's optimistic about the future, but he's worried the provincial government's use of the Portage Diversion to move water from the Assiniboine River to Lake Manitoba may create another disastrous flood.