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Province and Feds agree to fund the Channels

Today, standing at the edge of Lake Manitoba, with media and a large crowd present, the Premier and Federal Minister JimCarr announced the formal commitment of funds to build the Channels. The Channels will drain Lake Manitoba of water sent to it by the Assiniboine River via the Portage Diversion. The Diversion was built in the early 1970’s as part of a program to protect Winnipeg from flooding, but no action was taken at that time to deal with the devastating impact the Diversion would have on people outside Winnipeg – farmers, businesses, aboriginals and citizens located downstream of the Diversion. 

 The governments of Canada and Manitoba will cost share up to $540 million in new flood management infrastructure for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin outlet channels, Premier Brian Pallister and Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, announced today. Federal funding of $247.5 million will be provided for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project, the first project to be funded under the recently launched Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. Manitoba will provide matching funds in the amount of $247.5 million, plus an additional $45 million in order to complete the project. 

“After 60 years of inaction, we are proud to stand today alongside our partners in the federal government to announce this vital project,” said Pallister. “We are focused on completing this project in a timely fashion to better protect Manitobans who have sacrificed so much.” 

The governments of Canada and Manitoba identified the channels project as a major priority, due to severe flooding in the area in 2011 and 2014. These disasters resulted in extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the province, as well as emergency evacuations, particularly for communities around Lake St. Martin. 

“This funding shows that the Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to protect the vulnerable communities around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin from disasters like the 2011 and 2014 flooding,” Carr said. “Mitigating the effects of natural hazards before they happen is critical to reducing the devastating social, personal and economic costs of recovering after the fact. With investments like these, we will make communities across Canada more resilient to climate change, and ensure residents and businesses can thrive for generations to come.”

The project consists of building two approximately 23-kilometre-long diversion channels: the Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel will run north from Watchorn Bay on Lake Manitoba to Birch Bay on Lake St. Martin; the Lake St. Martin Outlet Channel will run northeast from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg south of Willow Point. The project also involves building two bridges and water control structures, a 24-kilovolt distribution line, and adjusting surrounding highway infrastructure. 

The project will significantly reduce the flood damage experienced by First Nations located along Lake St. Martin, complementing other regional flood protection infrastructure to ensure a more comprehensive provincial water control network that enables the province to effectively manage flows from the Assiniboine River and Lake Manitoba watersheds spanning Manitoba, southeast Saskatchewan and northeast North Dakota. Together, the channels will allow Manitoba to regulate lake levels and provide flood protection to individuals, businesses, communities and farmland around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin. Once completed, this work will significantly enhance the region’s ability to regulated water levels on both lakes and protect local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities from flooding. 

The new Lake Manitoba outlet channel is designed with a capacity of 7,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the Lake St. Martin channel will carry approximately 11,500 cfs at capacity. The current capacity of the Lake St. Martin Emergency Outlet Channel is approximately 4,000 cfs. The existing single Lake St .Martin emergency channel to Lake Winnipeg will be available on an emergency basis during construction. After the permanent channels are completed, the existing emergency channel will be modified for environmental support purposes, which are still being defined and developed.  

The current proposed channel alignments are a result of evaluating several options for each channel. Construction of an access road to the Lake St. Martin construction area is underway. The remainder of construction could start as soon as fall 2019.

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Are you worried about the future of Lake Manitoba?

In 2011 and 2014 lake Manitoba experienced substantial flooding issues. ALMS was formed in 2011 to help address flooding and other issues.

Today we face more challenges as the government contemplates solutions.

But we need able and committed people to help drive the agenda to protect Lake Manitoba forward.

Come to the Annual General Meeting and become part of the solution.

Annual General Meeting:

Date/time: June 20, 2018 at 7pm

location: St. John’s Ambulance Training Centre

1 St John Ambulance Way, Winnipeg

ALMS Writes the Prime Minister

Good morning everyone,

Below is a copy of the Letter ALMS sent to the Prime Minister urging an expedited Environmental Review process so that work on the Outlet can begin as soon as possible:

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Lake Manitoba Stakeholders Association. We represent the approximately 7,000 people who live around Lake Manitoba.

We have asked all our members to write to you as well.

Our request is simple. We seek an expedited Environmental Review process for the following reasons:

1) Extensive consultation via more than 60 meetings with impacted parties has already taken place via the Government of Manitoba;

2) Extensive environmental engineering has already been undertaken by one of Canada’s preeminent engineer firms and been reviewed by our constituents, as well as the Government of Manitoba’s own fisheries, wildlife, and water stewardship organizations; and

3) The previous government committed to us (the Citizens) that the process would be expedited.

From our perspective, work on the “drain” must begin immediately. We are a rainstorm (or snowstorm) away from a repeat of the 2011 and 2014 flood disasters which impacted so many.
Recall that in 2011, the flood forced 7,100 Manitobans to be displaced from their homes, some for more than six years, affected three million hectares of farmland, crippled farmers ability to grow crops for years, led ranchers to move thousands of livestock and triggered the closure of 850 roads. It cost over $1.5 Billion. Families, livelihoods, and lives were destroyed.

We are calling for immediate action for the already planned and designed outlet to be built – you can help.

We respectfully urge the Federal Government to direct for an emergent, expedited environmental review so that protection can begin immediately. It makes no sense to complete an extended Environment Assessment that replicates the work already done. In an era which desperately needs to see more Federal-Provincial cooperation, we ask that you direct your Government to take immediate action and expediate, not extend, the environmental review process. It is still an emergency.  We have already seen over 60 consultations with our first nations peoples, our communities, our businesses, and our farmers. There has been extensive environmental analysis. Fisheries have been considered, water quality have been considered. Extensive analysis by engineers has been completed. It is time for action.

Mr. Prime Minister, our lives and livelihoods sit in your hands. Please don’t let us down.

Respectfully,

Scott Greenlay
Vice-President
Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders

cc: Premier of Manitoba, Minister Wishart, Derek Johnson, MLA
Minister Carr, James Bezan, MP, Candace Bergen, MP, Robert Sopuck, MP

Reminder: Your Emails needed today to help speed the building of the Drain

Fellow Lake Manitobans,

Our Premier is meeting with the Prime Minister in Ottawa next week and Lake Manitoba is one of the key topics of discussion.

The Federal Government is considering a two-year environmental impact assessment before permitting the Lake Manitoba Drain to be built. According to our Premier, to date there have been over 60 consultations, some of the most extensive environmental assessment work ever undertaken by our Province. In addition, we are 12 weeks away from a major rain or snow event re-creating the horrific 2011 $1.5B event. The Government of Manitoba believes it is “emergent” that the Drain be built and is working to ask the Federal Government to reduce the environmental assessment process. To do this, your voice would help. Below is the contact information and a letter you can use to express your support.

Once the environmental assessment is approved by the federal government, the channel can start being dug. It will take two years to complete. Work has already started on building road access, but we need the environmental assessment completed before the digging can start.

ACTION NEEDED BY WEDNESDAY. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!

=====================================================================

Send your Email to :

Minister Wishart at ian.wishart@leg.gov.mb.ca who has agreed to gather all letters and send with the Premier to Ottawa.

For those living in the Interlake, please also include derek.johnson@leg.gov.mb.ca

You can also send an email to:
Federal Minister Responsible for Manitoba: Jim.Carr@parl.gc.ca
The Prime Minister of Canada: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Some ideas for your Email:

Subject: Lake Manitoba Flood Control Project – Please reduce the Federal Government Environmental Review time – We are in Danger

Dear Prime Minister,

As you know in 2011 and 2014, we the Citizens of Canada who live around Lake Manitoba were decimated by horrific floods. These floods waters were largely caused by water sent to us from Alberta and Saskatchewan. We were sacrificed to save others. But today, we still are not safe.

In 2011, the flood forced 7,100 Manitobans to be displaced from their homes, some for more than six years, affected three million hectares of farmland, crippled farmers ability to grow crops for years, led ranchers to move thousands of livestock and triggered the closure of 850 roads. It cost over $1.5 Billion. Families, livelihoods, and lives were destroyed.

We are still in danger. Today we still do not have a flood outlet on Lake Manitoba. A series of storms would quickly put us back to 2011 again.

We are calling for immediate action for the already planned and designed outlet to be built – you can help.

We respectfully urge the Federal Government to direct for an emergent, expedited environmental review so that protection can begin immediately. It makes no sense to complete an extended Environment Assessment that replicates the work already done. In an era which desperately needs to see more Federal-Provincial cooperation, we ask that you direct your Government to take immediate action and expediate, not extend, the environmental review process. It is still an emergency.  We have already seen over 60 consultations with our first nations peoples, our communities, our businesses, and our farmers. There has been extensive environmental analysis. Fisheries have been considered, water quality have been considered. Extensive analysis by engineers has been completed. It is time for action.

Mr. Prime Minister, our lives and livelihoods sit in your hands. Please don’t let us down.

Respectfully,

(your name)

Your Assistance is Needed to help speed the building of the Drain

Fellow ALMS Members, attached is the post which the DBA posted today. ALMS would also like all of it’s members to do the same, and also include the interlake MLA, Derek Johnson in your email. His email is derek.johnson@leg.gov.mb.ca

Delta Beach Association Website

Fellow Lake Manitobans,

Our Premier is meeting with the Prime Minister in Ottawa next week and Lake Manitoba is one of the key topics of discussion.

The Federal Government is considering a two-year environmental impact assessment before permitting the Lake Manitoba Drain to be built. According to our Premier, to date there have been over 60 consultations, some of the most extensive environmental assessment work ever undertaken by our Province. In addition, we are 12 weeks away from a major rain or snow event re-creating the horrific 2011 $1.5B event. The Government of Manitoba believes it is “emergent” that the Drain be built and is working to ask the Federal Government to reduce the environmental assessment process. To do this, your voice would help. Below is the contact information and a letter you can use to express your support.

Once the environmental assessment is approved by the federal government, the…

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Province Issues April Flood Update

Manitoba Media Bulletin
April 18, 2018

PROVINCE ISSUES
APRIL FLOOD UPDATE

The Hydrologic Forecast Centre of Manitoba Infrastructure reports the risk of widespread major flooding remains low across most of the province, with a continued moderate risk of some overland flooding of low-lying areas along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.

Ice is expected to start breaking up and moving this week. The Red River Floodway gates will likely be in operation by early next week, based on current weather forecasts. PTH 75 is expected to remain open throughout the run-off period.

The Red River is expected to peak between approximately 50,000 and 60,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) between April 27 and May 2 at Ste. Agathe. The peak will reach Winnipeg within 48 hours after the peak at Ste. Agathe. This flow is similar to the one observed in 2017, which was 54,000 cfs at Ste. Agathe. The peak water level at James Avenue in Winnipeg is expected to be approximately 19.0 ft. Last year, for similar flows, the peak level at James Avenue was 19.1 ft.

The Portage Diversion could start operation in the week of April 23 for ice control along the lower Assiniboine River. Flows along the Assiniboine River at Portage la Prairie could reach just over 20,000 cfs, which would require the use of the Portage Diversion to limit the downstream flow to 12,000 cfs. The Shellmouth Dam will continue operations to reach summer levels after the spring run-off.

The risk of major flooding continues to be low for the Souris, Qu’Appelle and Pembina rivers and their tributaries. Levels will be within flood protection levels even with unfavourable weather conditions. The risk of major flooding in the Interlake region and for most major lakes, including Lakes Winnipeg, Manitoba and Dauphin and the Whiteshell lakes is low. The risk of major flooding is moderate on northern basins including the Churchill and Carrot rivers in The Pas region.

Ice-jam related flooding continues to be a possibility due to the thickness of the ice on some of Manitoba’s rivers and streams. Icebreaking activities have been completed at all locations that have been at high risk of ice jamming in past years.

Information is available online at www.gov.mb.ca/flooding.

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