July 3, 2020

Brandon
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WEATHER ALERT

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Province moves gear to Brandon in case of more flooding

Mayor Rick Chrest shows off the flooded road to Brandon Municipal Airport to visiting Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, Brandon East MLA Len Isleifson and Brandon West MLA and Central Services Minister Reg Helwer (left to right) on Tuesday.

(RON SCHULER ON TWITTER)

Mayor Rick Chrest shows off the flooded road to Brandon Municipal Airport to visiting Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, Brandon East MLA Len Isleifson and Brandon West MLA and Central Services Minister Reg Helwer (left to right) on Tuesday.

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Five trailers of equipment have been sent to Brandon by the provincial government in case more flooding occurs, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler told the Sun on Tuesday afternoon.

These trailers contain tools like water pumps and water tubes that can be used as a barrier to protect businesses. While these trailers are based in Brandon for the time being, Schuler said they could be deployed anywhere in Westman within 30 minutes.

"(Municipalities) just have to reach out to Emergency Measures and we'll get equipment to them," he said.

The good news, according to the minister, is that the weather projections are now forecasting that a less severe storm will hit Brandon instead of another big storm as originally thought.

A flood warning and high-water advisory sent out by the province at 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon said a "moderate precipitation system" is in the forecast and could dump a further 30 to 80 millimetres of rain on southwestern and western Manitoba. While not a small amount of rain, it pales in comparison to the 155 centimetres dropped on Brandon last Sunday.

Schuler toured flood-hit areas of Westman this afternoon, meeting with fellow Progressive Conservatives MLAs Reg Helwer and Len Isleifson in the Brandon area and Eileen Clarke up near Minnedosa. The minister also visited Rivers and Rapid City, where a tornado was confirmed to have touched down on Sunday.

While in Brandon, Schuler got a first-hand look at the flooded road to Brandon Municipal Airport and a flooded underpass on Highway 110 near the junction with Provincial Road 457, accompanied by Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest.

"It's just devastating, all the water that came at your communities," he said. "It's not the amount of rain, it's how quickly it came. We had a look at Rivers dam and Minnedosa, it's unbelievable how much water washed through the community."

He said his department is paying attention to the situation and will be receptive to calls for help.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Brandon West MLA and Central Services Minister check out a flooded overpass on Highway 110 near the junction with Provincial Road 459 on Tuesday.

(RON SCHULER ON TWITTER)

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Brandon West MLA and Central Services Minister check out a flooded overpass on Highway 110 near the junction with Provincial Road 459 on Tuesday.

Teams from Manitoba Infrastructure will be assessing damage to provincially-owned roads and bridges in the near future.

In Brandon, the city is making plans in case the Assiniboine River floods. Municipal workers have set up pumps in areas likely to need drainage in case of a flood and preparations are being made in case the dike opening at 18th Street North at Grand Valley Road needs to be closed.

Residents are being warned to stay away from the river and stay off the dikes.

During business hours, the Civic Services Complex on Richmond Avenue offered Brandonites empty sandbags and sand and Brandon City Hall handed out cleanup kits to the occupants of flooded homes courtesy of the Canadian Red Cross. Both those facilities will be closed on Canada Day.

The Sun was unable to connect with Mayor Rick Chrest late Tuesday afternoon to get an update on the situation.

Premier Brian Pallister extended his sympathies to Westman residents during a press conference presenting an update on the province's finances in the wake of COVID-19.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you folks in Westman right now as you endure this incredible weather event," he said.

Opposition and NDP leader Wab Kinew also sent his best wishes to flood-affected areas during an interview. Kinew said he is planning to visit the region later this week.

"We offer our full support to everybody in the area to try and help with the damage that's been done and help people directly," he said.

» cslark@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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