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Homes protected along Assiniboine River

St. Francois Xavier fire chief Jamie Vanderhorst oversaw the delivery and distribution of sandbags to homes along Highway 26 as hundreds of volunteers built dikes July 8, just days before the swollen Assiniboine River crested.

ANDREA GEARY Enlarge Image

St. Francois Xavier fire chief Jamie Vanderhorst oversaw the delivery and distribution of sandbags to homes along Highway 26 as hundreds of volunteers built dikes July 8, just days before the swollen Assiniboine River crested.

Flood preparations have paid off along the lower Assiniboine River, as sandbags and earthen dikes are successfully protecting homes after a massive mobilization of resources to ensure the area is protected.

Volunteers sandbagged on July 8 to protect Keven and Gloria Van Camp’s  home in the RM of St. Francois Xavier.

Enlarge Image

Volunteers sandbagged on July 8 to protect Keven and Gloria Van Camp’s home in the RM of St. Francois Xavier. (ANDREA GEARY)

RM of Cartier public information officer Carmen Asu said all homes at risk of flooding in the area were sandbagged or protected by earthen dikes, thanks to the hard work of the Canadian Armed Forces, municipal public works staff, residents and volunteers.

"Everybody who needs a dike, got one," she said  Mon., July 14. "The water levels seem to have stabilized."

The provincial government has said in several flood information updates that a flow of 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be maintained until water levels drop along the Assiniboine River above the Portage Diversion.

"We’ve identified no problem areas," St. Francois Xavier CAO Robert Poirier said Monday. "The water’s at 2011 levels."

Headingley mayor Wilf Taillieu said the situation is the same in his municipality.

"It’s holding now," he said.

Headingley’s July 13 municipal flood report stated that the Assiniboine River’s peak arrived that day with a maximum flow of 17,954 cubic feet per second (cfs) — just slightly below the expected rate of 18,000 cfs. The river level was measured at 234.394 metres (769 feet) which was just below 2011 levels.  

The report said a second peak is expected to arrive at Portage la Prairie between Tues., July 15 and Thurs., July 17 at a flow of 52,000 to 53,000 cfs — higher than the rate of the flow of the first peak. As a result, it is expected that the 18,000 cfs flow on the lower Assiniboine will be maintained until July 22 or beyond.

St. Francois Xavier’s Emergency Operations Centre will remain open, with reduced staffing, until any danger has passed. The public information line 204-864-2871 will be kept open.

The municipality will maintain a rapid reaction group able to respond to emergency calls around the clock. This group will respond with sandbags, equipment and operators in short order if called.

A St. Francois Xavier municipal report said that three 16-inch water pumps are being used to keep the level of the Long Lake Drain in the western end of the municipality below the overflow level. It is hoped this will mitigate the enormous loss of producing farm land seen in 2011.

Cartier’s Asu said the Cartier Emergency Operations Centre will remain open and can be reached by calling 204-353-4005.

For up-to-date information, flood updates are available on the RM of Cartier website at www.rm-cartier.mb.ca, the RM of St. Francois Xavier web site at www.rm-stfrancois.mb.ca and the RM of Headingley web site at  www.rmofheadingley.ca

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