Fairford House of Prayer: Naomi and I were with friends from Fairford on Sunday this last weekend attending a service at the Fairford House of Prayer. This is the hundredth anniversary for the annual summer camp meeting. The baptism (below) was held at the Fairford River.
Lake St. Martin Flood Evacuees:
Naomi and I also visited with friends from Lake St. Martin who are evacuees from the Flood of 2011. One of the people I met with was Rosemary Forbes who is in the photo below with me and Myrle Ballard. Rosemary is now living in a temporary Manitoba Housing home at the radar base just a few miles north of Fairford. Though Rosemary and others are pleased to have a place to live until their community can be rebuilt or relocated, the government would be well advised to look at several aspects of the situation at the former radar base if this is going to work. Right now only 11 of the more than 60 homes at the site are occupied and in part this is I believe because a variety of issues are not being well addressed.
To begin with, we learned that the water can not be used for cooking because it turns food black. People are also not drinking the water because one of the community members became sick. They are hauling bottled water.
The floor of Rosemary's living room bounces when you walk on it (see video below)
Behind the house is the sewer unit for two units which are together.
The problem is that it is not operating properly. When the toilet is flushed, water from the toilet overflows through the white outlet below. This creates a mess and a stench. Rosemary can't open her window because of the "stink".
Rosemary has a grandson who lives with her most of the time. She has a very small one bedroom unit, and as a result her ten year old grandson has to sleep with her in her bed. There are other unoccupied two bedroom units. She should be considered for a move into one of the vacant two bedroom units.
The door is poorly fitted with a big crack above the door where the wind blows in. This is not a major problem when it is warm, but in the winter it sure will be.
Add to this, there was already a water issue and some mould developing in a closet. This is not the only home where we found problems. The people at Manitoba Housing need to get on top of these issues quickly. Rosemary and others have been putting in a lot of calls and have not been receiving the help they should be getting from their landlord (Manitoba Housing).
In addition to the issues around the homes they are now living in, the flood evacuees at the radar base are also dealing with the homes they have lost and wondering when they will know where the Lake St. Martin community will finally be located so that they will have their own homes and be able to live in their own community once again. Evangeline Traverse has just received the letter above which tells her that she will receive absolutely zero compensation for the loss of her home and its possessions (below). She had invested a lot of sweat and money in her home over many years. Evangeline's home in Lake St. Martin was one of the homes which was flooded and rendered not livable in the flood of 2011. She lost her home and all her possessions when it was flooded due to the high water (artificial flooding) on Lake St. Martin and due to the failure of the poorly constructed dike around the Lake St. Martin community. Evangeline, and others, wonder why she has been the one to suffer so much in order to save others from flooding and because engineers and others goofed in constructing the dike. Life has not been fair. And why does this letter not even mention an appeal process which has been offered to most other people. The fair treatment of people who are still displaced and living in temporary homes away from their community would also help, but sadly it is not happening now.
Add to these issues, Evangeline has just received a bill from Manitoba Hydro for power consumed at her condemned home. When Evangeline and her daughter went there Aug 5 they found that the hydro has
been turned back on at her house despite her house being condemned and there being water in
her crawl space.
As part of our effort to help flood evacuees we will be meeting with additional flood evacuees on Thursday August 9 from 10 am to 3 pm at a workshop at the Greenwood Inn in Winnipeg. If you are a flood evacuee, come and join us.