The Hartney Flood Recovery Forum; The River Heights Annual General Meeting coming up
Flood Recovery in South-Western Manitoba:
Last week on Tuesday April 3, at the Hartney Civic Centre we held the fourth in our series of Flood Forums. This one focused on issues in South-Western Manitoba.
And there were many issues. 1) One of the big requests is to have a flood recovery centre in south-western Manitoba staffed by people who are familiar with the local scene and who can make common sense decisions which fit the needs of people in this area.
Immediately when the flood forum started, a farmer who was severely impacted by the flood spoke up. He is now on his fourth "adviser", with adviser being the person with whom he deals in the government on his flood recovery package. The problem with four "advisers" is that the ground rules keep changing, and what is agreed to one day, is back to square one the next week with a new adviser. The problem is compounded by the fact that what a local adviser agrees to and says, is often contradicted when the agreement goes to Winnipeg. I was told in no uncertain terms it is "a bloody mess". In contrast to the poor provincial support, I heard that the support from the local municipality was excellent.
I must say I was impressed with the local wisdom and care in terms of not spending taxpayers money when it is not needed but making sure it is spent where it is needed. It is this sort of local wisdom which could be used in staffing an office in South-western Manitoba with the critical people needed from the various departments to serve people in this area well. It would save considerable costs in some areas and at the same time ensure that the money needed to help food victims is there when it is needed.
Wayne Drummond, the Reeve of Cameron Municipality, and known far and wide for his plain speaking and fair dealing was at the meeting. He said he was skeptical of some of the complaints people were making. However, when it was his turn to put in his claim, he found exactly the same problems. I heard from several people that claims were almost guaranteed to be refused the first and second time they were submitted. It was as if the NDP government was doing everything they could to wear people down. People emphasized that it was very important to persist and make sure you submitted your claims for the third, fourth and whatever time is takes to get results. The approach being used could have been dramatically improved by having a local office staffed consistently by individuals who know the area, rather than having a rotation of people who were not familiar with south-western Manitoba.
2) A second big request was to have a recovery plan for south-western Manitoba. The main roads need to be fixed first and then the secondary roads. There are still areas including Whitewater Lake where the surface water is covering crop land.
3) The importance of having a long term flood prevention approach was emphasized. As one participant said "There is an unbelievable amount of drainage going on." This approach to increased drainage without increased water retention is moving a lot more water off the land more quickly than before. It will inevitably lead to more flooding. There needs to be major investment in water retention as at the Weidenhamer backflood and the L6 Dam
(see my post - http://manitobaliberals.blogspot.ca/2012/04/water-storage-and-retention-as.html ).
4) Fourthly, people at the flood forum emphasized the importance of an agreement between Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota with regard to preventing future floods, and the importance of increasing water retention to hold back water and decrease flooding.
River Heights Annual General Meeting: You are invited to the River Heights Constituency Liberal Association Annual General Meeting with guest speaker Anna Stokke talking about “What is happening with math education in Manitoba and why we need to improve.” Anna challenges us to address what she calls the "never ending cycle of innumeracy."
6:45 p.m. – Annual River Heights Constituency Meeting
7:00 p.m.- Guest Speaker – Anna Stokke