Manitoba community declares local state of emergency due to flooding

A Manitoba community declared a local state of emergency Thursday morning over fears of flooding and evacuation risks.

In a press release, the MR of Montcalm specifies that the local state of emergency will remain in effect until May 28, 2022.

He noted that there were 16 homes along Saint Mary’s Road that may need to be evacuated. Potential evacuees have been informed of the situation and arrangements are underway.

Marc Sawadsky, whose home is one of 16 on evacuation alert, is preparing in the hope that the road in front of his house will soon be washed away by the flooded Red River rising behind it.

“I think we’re probably going to lose access here in a few days. It is what it is,” he said.

Paul Gilmore, Warden of the MR of Montcalm, said the main concern for these residents is that they will have no way out of their properties.

“We want to make sure our residents are safe,” Gilmore said.

In Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the circular dike was partially closed in the middle of the city. In the RM of Morris, nine roads are blocked as it too has declared a state of emergency.

But all eyes are on Highway 75 in Morris, as local officials believe the road closure is inevitable to protect the town.

“Certainly based on the weather forecast for this weekend, I think that’s a guarantee that it will be closed,” said Ralph Groening, Warden of the MR of Morris.

Morris Mayor Scott Crick said he also assumed the road would be closed between Friday and Monday.

It may be a headache for truckers, but a new little detour around part of Morris is in place. Still, the trucking association worries if flood levels reach 2011 levels, that detour might not hold up, forcing truckers to take a much longer one.

“By our calculations, that ballpark cost for an average truck is currently between $250 and $300 per trip,” said Aaron Dolyniuk, general manager of the Manitoba Trucking Association.

A closure of Highway 75 would also be felt by local businesses that rely on traffic.

“The message we’ve sent to our citizens (is) we’re all going the extra mile to try to make sure we’re supporting local businesses right now,” Crick said.

Back in the RM of Montcalm, Sawadsky said he had enough food and supplies and was cowering now.

” We’re going to stay. There’s something romantic about island camping if you will,” he said.

Pumping operations are underway in some areas and the circular dike near the old bridge in Saint-Jean-Baptiste is closed. A sandbag filling station is open at the RM de Montcalm store, located at the southern end of Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

A full list of road closures in the community is available online.

Crews will continue to monitor water levels and provide updates on the situation.

Montcalm residents are reminded not to drive on roads covered with water. Those who have flood damage to their homes should check their insurance coverage. If they do not have flood insurance, they must complete a Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) application form.

RM noted that the amount of rain it receives this weekend will impact the situation.

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