ST. FRANCOIS XAVIER — For the first time this year, a municipal road in St. Francois Xavier has been shut down due to flooding concerns, and officials said they’re prepared if water levels continue to rise.
Right now, water on the lower Assiniboine River is flowing at 15,000 cubic feet per second in the municipality. With rain in the forecast Saturday night, officials said water levels could rise, it’s just not clear how much.
“We’re ready for 17,000 cubic feet per second, and that equates for about a foot and a half,” Reeve of St. Francois Xavier, Dwayne Clark, said.
The rural municipality (RM) declared a state of emergency on April 9, and as of right now seven properties have been affected by flooding.
If water does begin flowing at 17,000 cubic feet per second, around 30 properties could be impacted.
“We can just react to what happens, and mitigate any issues that arise,” Clark said.
Stephen Burdy lives on one of the seven properties affected by current water levels. In the last four years, he has spent more than $130,000 constructing a home made dike to protect his home on Harbour Cove.
“I was supposed to retire two years ago, and because of this man made flooding, it’s delayed that entirely,” Burdy said.
According to Burdy, the Portage Diversion is causing the increased flow in water, and costing people living near him thousands. He said the province is sending too much water down the lower Assiniboine River, forcing people to build their own dikes, or watch parts of their property wash away.
“They make these decisions with no regard to the consequences. They make these decisions without justifying it,” he said.
Burdy is calling on the province to send more water to the Portage Diversion, which carries flood water to Lake Manitoba, to ensure no more damage is done to properties in St. Francois Xavier.
“Not out of the water yet,” Burdy said.
In their latest flood bulletin released Thursday, the province said the lower Assiniboine River had crested in Portage la Prairie, and water is flowing at more than 23,000 cubic feet per second down the Portage Diversion.