Crews from the RM of Cornwallis construct a permanent dike near Veterans Way on Thursday to protect a nearby strawberry farm and evergreen nursery that were destroyed in the 2011 flood. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
A group of merganser ducks swim in the waters covering Riverbend Park on Veterans Way on Thursday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
A permanent dike is quickly being constructed in an effort to protect properties on Veterans Way from a repeat of the 2011 flood devastation.
RM of Cornwallis Reeve Reg Atkinson said he is particularly concerned about Grand Valley Strawberry Farm and Evergreen Valley Nursery.
"The idea is to stop the flooding that destroyed the farm and the evergreen nurseries in 2011 because the water is projected to be the same height, so we figured we better take permanent action," Atkinson said.
Work began on the dike Thursday, and Atkinson said the plan is to raise the road three to four feet. The dike is located west of the RM of Cornwallis office, near the river along Veterans Way.
"We have to get to that height," he said. "In 2011, we tried to sandbag but we lost, and we had to walk away and leave it. So this time we’re going to build it, we’ve got machines there, we’re packing it, we’re making a permanent dike."
The work needs to get done as quickly as possible, as the water continues to rise. Atkinson said they hope to have it completed by the end of today.
"(Wednesday) night it went up five to six inches," Atkinson said. "If it comes up about four more feet, it will go across that road."
Barb Neudorf, owner of Grand Valley Strawberry Farm, said they "lost it all" in 2011. At that time, water was a few feet deep in some areas of their property.
"We didn’t open for picking at all that year," she said. "We had nothing to winter over, so that was a substantial loss."
Neudorf said she isn’t sure if they’ve fully recovered from 2011, but are back in a good spot.
Now, with the sharp spike in Assiniboine River levels expected in the next week or so, Neudorf said they are concerned about their crops once again.
"Building this dike, that certainly helps, that’s a huge relief," she said. "We just can hope for the best."
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 4, 2014