By Marianne Curtis
Work crews are taking advantage of this summer’s unusually dry season to undertake some much needed drainage work that is expected to keep Ste. Genevieve residents a little bit dryer come spring.
Over the past few years, overland flooding in the Ste. Genevieve area has escalated to the point that last spring, a number of residents had to wait over a month before they could use their own driveways.
According to La Verendrye MLA Ron Lemiuex work crews have already started to move into the Ste. Genevieve area to begin addressing some of the ongoing drainage issues.
“Jackfish Creek is getting cleaned and the Youville Drain is next – the grass was six feet high and it has been totally mowed down,” stated Lemiuex. “Backhoes will be moving in to clean out the cattails next.”
Lemiuex says that he is very pleased to see this issue being addressed.
“The residents need it – it’s dry now so we need to take advantage of it,” Lemiuex added.
Carmen Allard, spokesperson for the flooded out residents in Ste. Genevieve is glad that things will finally begin drying up in the area.
“Our councillor found the original survey for Cook’s Creek so they have applied to clean out the creek and that should really help with the water issues,” stated Allard. “When they clean the Creek they are supposed to build up the sides of the creek to keep the water contained, within the banks, which means three or four houses that used to flood will get some relief.”
She added that some residents applied for the Individual Flood Protection Program and have been accepted so that will help a few more families. Others have been able to work on their land to get some of the other drainage issues taken care of in case next year is wet again.
“It has been a Godsend to have a dry year,” Allard added.
However, Lemiuex admits that he is more than ready for a more permanent solution. A number of years ago, the RM of Tache proposed a diversion that would bring water out of the area and direct it towards the floodway.
“This ditch will be almost the size of the Seine River Diversion and it will take a lot of the water from Ross, Ste. Genevieve and dump it into the floodway long before high water moves in from the United States,” Lemieux explained. “What we need is to cost share an engineering study to determine what the final costs of the project will be.”
For the project to proceed, the federal government has to commit to paying 45% of the cost. The province has already promised 45% and the RM of Tache will make up the difference.
“A number of us are getting frustrated trying to get a meeting with Vic Toews to discuss funding but he won’t meet with us before the election,” Lemieux lamented. “Everyone – including the municipalities are on board – we just need the federal government to get involved.”