Focus turns to cleanup as premier tours washed out dam in Wolseley
WOLSLEY, Sask. – After a hectic week for residents trying to protect their homes, and emergency crews trying to keep the water at bay, the flood situation in southeast Saskatchewan is beginning to stabilize.
Most lake water levels have peaked and some, including Crooked and Round, are in decline. In its daily flood update with the media on Monday, the province said the water level at Last Mountain Lake should peak within a few days.
The focus now turns to the massive cleanup and rebuild.
“I think we should be hopeful that what we replace current infrastructure with will be slightly more, or hopefully significantly more, flood resistant,” said Premier Brad Wall on a tour through Wolseley on Monday morning before heading to Moosomin.
Wall said he is confident the federal government will grant his request for an advance of $100 million for disaster relief.
“There’s a lot of roads that were cut. We need to get those back in operation. So, it’s going to be transportation safety first, but we want to make sure that people are taken care of in their claims as well,” said Wall.
NEED TO KNOW: Important Saskatchewan flood contact numbers
The province said nearly 150 Saskatchewan communities have applied for the provincial disaster assistance program (PDAP), and some residents have already received advance cheques in the mail. The advances are mainly for homes where water caused damage to furnaces or water heaters.
In Wolseley, half of the homes in the town experienced sewer backup last week.
“We unfortunately had to pump out some excess water from the pump station to keep pace with the flooding. As it was, we believe there are approximately 50 basements that had some form of backup,” said Deputy Mayor Gerald Hill.
However, the biggest infrastructure impact for Wolseley is the spillway that washed away, draining water from Fairly Lake, which is now about four feet lower than usual.
“The kids have lost their swimming hole and the third annual Main Street Wolseley Fishing Derby has been cancelled. If it dries up too much further, it will create an odor,” said Ed Attridge, the PDAP lead for Wolseley.
The rushing water also caused two gaping holes in the Richmond Street Bridge in the community.
“We hope that our conversation with the engineers this morning will identify a remedial measure where we can block the channel,” said Attridge.
However, as towns rebuild, some people, in areas like Melville, Gainsborough, Yorkton, Bird’s Point, Alida, and the Sakimay First Nation are still waiting to go home. The province said some people are still being put up in hotels and many others are receiving food.