By Marianne Curtis
A group of flooded out residents from the St. Genevieve area are angry and disappointed with the RM of Tache council after numerous pleas for assistance have fallen on deaf ears.
Since the end of May, Carmen Allard along about sixteen other residents have been pleading to their municipal councilor to step in and help residents after many were flooded out by heavy rains.
“In May, I asked my councilor to come in and do some ditch cleaning. We’d flooded last year and if the water would flow properly we would have less problems,” explained Allard. “Instead I was told that it would need surveys, permits and water stewardship would need to be involved and not to expect help for a couple of years – that was not an acceptable answer.”
Then the rains came on the last weekend of May.
“The dike to the nearby gravel pit was breached and they were pumping into the ditch onto Road 50 North. The water got so high that many homes were inaccessible – some only until recently,” Allard added.
Vi Hancock was one of the residents unable to access her property. For the first three weeks in June, she was forced to leave her car parked on the road because her yard was underwater.
“The RM came and looked but said that the water in our ditch was too high to do anything,” stated Hancock. “We were flabbergasted by that answer – all that needs to be done is have a machine dragged along the bottom and the water could flow away.”
Shortly after the rains, Mayor Bill Danylchuk told media that the municipality had “sufficient resources to cover the overland flooding in the municipality.” Residents in the St. Genevieve area want to see some of that money spent in their area.
“It would be nice to know when the residents of St Genevieve will receive the benefit of those “sufficient resources” then maybe the roads here that have been closed for two weeks will be open again,” Allard says. “The municipality wants to take over putting culverts on private property yet they can’t maintain the ones they have control over now so why give them more when they can’t get it right with the ones they already have.”
A third resident, who asked to remain unnamed says that he has flown over the area and witnessed first hand the damage being done to the area.
“There are several peat moss sites in the area that are being pumped into the ditch – one has a 22 inch pump draining – one dyke breached and filled Fish Creek and then two days later it was blocked again,” he stated. “I hate to see what will happen when these companies leave the area – if those cells fill with water and then breach there will be a flash flood that will devastate St. Genevieve.”
The group has been in contact with Water Stewardship, Cooks Creek Conservation, the RM of Tache and even Provencher MP Vic Toews office.
“Neither the Provincial government nor the Federal government can help us out in this situation I already asked,” stated Allard. “It seems the RM of Tache has to pick up the phone and ask for us so I can’t see that happening anytime soon or maybe they all have broken fingers.”
Despite ongoing attempts to get a response from the municipality, the residents have only received a letter from the municipality saying that a survey will be done on the ditch.
“It’s like we are unimportant here in Ste. Genevieve – it sucks being Lorette’s poor cousin,” Hancock added.