By Marianne Curtis
Ste. Genevieve residents are extremely frustrated with the RM of Tache and other departments after once again the community fell victim to raging floodwaters. On April 9 and 10 an emergency call was made for sandbaggers to come into the Ste. Genevieve area to help several homeowners protect their properties from overland flooding including homeowner Christine Moldowan.
“As the snow melted we watched as the water crept up to the house,” explained Moldowan. “My husband called the neighbour after the water jumped two feet. Within minutes our home was surrounded with people, some strangers throwing sand bags as if it was their own home.”
Moldowan is extremely grateful for all the help that they received from the community. However, she is extremely frustrated with the response from the municipality.
“My husband and I bought our home less than a year ago, we were so excited as it was our first home,” explained Moldowan. “That excitement quickly faded less than a week of owning our first home our basement flooded and again in the weeks to come.”
Moldowan says that the incident kicked off a summer that seemed to punish area residents with more rain than they could handle.
“I called our councillor who was of no help and insulting at times, he had no answers and did not direct me to someone who could help,” Moldowan continued. “I asked about Winnipeg’s sump pit program and if we had something like that that could be offered to us I was told “municipality was not going to pay for homeowners upgrades”.
She adds that she is already not looking forward to the summer months and any rain that could hit the area.
“The drainage has to be addressed homes are being flooded, farmlands washed away, along with roads,” Moldowan continued. “We are losing sleep, feeling helpless and literally scared when it rains – it’s a horrible gut wrenching feeling seeing rain in the summer.”
Carmen Allard, has been meeting with the RM of Tache, Cooks Creek Conservation and trying to meet with La Verendrye MLA Ron Lemieux on behalf of community residents to appeal for help.
“I have contacted Ron Lemieux’s office to ask if Ron could put some pressure on Minister Steve Ashton’s office to clean out the ditches east of Hwy #12 along Hwy # 501 to get rid of the lake at that corner of those two highways and get rid of the bulrushes along Hwy # 501 down to Ross,” Allard says.
RM of Tache Mayor Bill Danylchuk says that he understands the frustration of area residents but some of the issues are not within the municipality’s jurisdiction.
“”Unfortunately, this is, for the most part, a jurisdiction other than the municipality which will only be addressed when the others come aboard,” Danylchuk explained. “That’s mainly the Province of Manitoba along 501, and also the Cook’s Creek Conservation district, which is a conservation district that looks at, and has been taking responsibility for, the work on drains that have been talked about in that area.”
Allard would also like to see consideration made towards communities such as Ste. Genevieve to be including in the recent sump pump program by the province. The sump-pump subsidy program would pay up to 60 per cent of the cost of installing a sewer/drainage backup system to a maximum of $3,000 per household (up to $1,000 toward the installation of an approved in-line backwater valve and up to $2,000 toward the installation of a sump pump and pit drainage system).
“When we asked the RM if we could apply for this program we were told that the program had already been set up for Lorette a couple of years ago, that it was being set up in Landmark but that it was not applicable to rural residents,” Allard says. “ The rural residents have been asking their councillors about this program, want to apply but have been told no to yet another Provincial initiative to help with flooding.”
In 2003, the RM of Tache developed a sump pump and back up valve program that provided funding for the installation of a sump pump and backup valve. The program was later expanded to include Landmark.
Rushing water though the Ste. Genevieve area this spring left several homes needing to be sandbagged.