By Marianne Curtis
The RM of Ritchot has been working diligently behind the scenes in preparation of an anticipated flooding emergency.
RM of Ritchot Mayor Bob Stefaniuk says that his council and community have been getting prepared despite a spell of favourable weather.
“The flood forecast has not changed very much over the past while and we are still expecting water coming in from the south,” stated Stefaniuk. “I am confident that we are prepared unless something significant happens we should be okay.”
Stefaniuk added that based on the current forecast the flood may not be as damaging as first anticipated but it will be a major inconvenience for residents. Most of the municipality’s flood prone properties are protected to the 1997 plus two feet level.
Under favourable conditions, there is a one in ten chance that the area could see 2006 water levels. There is an 8 out of ten chance that water will rise up to two and a half feet above 2009 levels. Unfavourable conditions would put the level at one foot higher than 1997 but there is only a one in ten chance of that happening.
Despite the optimistic attitude, the RM of Ritchot is proceeding with preparations. As of March 24, the RM of Ritchot’s emergency measures office opened for business. Manned by trained volunteers, residents can find access to answers and resources. They can also pick up sandbags.
Harold Schlamp, emergency coordinator for the RM of Ritchot advises residents to schedule an appointment to have empty sandbags delivered to residents or business.
“The driver will bring the bags and supply information on how to build a dyke properly along with the names of contractors that will deliver sand,” says Schlamp. Residents will be required to pay the contractor and then make a claim to Disaster Financial Assistance for reimbursement later, if possible.
“There are things that residents can do – knowing your flood proofing elevations is one of them,” Schlamp added. “Moving equipment, propane tanks, drums and other items to higher ground is another.”
Videos on how to build and determine how many sandbags are needed is available at the municipal website. Anyone requiring assistance can call 883-2147. In addition an automated phone line at 883-2596 has been hooked up to provide daily updates on Red River water levels.
The RM of Ritchot council recently met with Ron Lemieux, MLA for La Vérendrye to discuss the municipality’s protection plans in preparation for this year’s anticipated flooding event.