River runs through it: flooded Manitoba village feels ‘ignored’
WINNIPEG – Residents of St. Lazare feel abandoned as their community is inundated by water while the flood fight brings military help to central Manitoba.
“We’re feeling very ignored. It seems that if you don’t live inside of the (Winnipeg) Perimeter, you don’t count for very much in this province,” said Guy Huberdeau, reeve of the rural municipality of St. Lazare.
The village at the conjunction of the Assiniboine and Qu’Appelle rivers near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border has been inundated, with water completely surrounding some homes.
Flood levels in St. Lazare are already above what was seen in 2011 and are expected to rise when the Qu’Apelle and Assiniboine crest again on July 14.
The only way to get from town to some homes is by a two-hour detour or a half-kilometre hike along a railway line.
Connie Chartier-Tanguay has been fighting floodwaters 24 hours a day for 10 days at her mother’s home in St. Lazare. There are rapids in the front yard and they squeegee the basement floor every 15 minutes.
“Some people are going to say we’re crazy to stay here and fight, fight, fight. If it was your house, you’d do the same thing,” she said.
They weren’t warned about what was coming so they were unable to prepare, she said.
Owen Jessup’s home now fronts on a lake.
“I would say that everybody’s at their max that they can take,” he said. “Everybody’s taken the precautions they can, fighting to save what they’ve got.”
© Shaw Media, 2014