August 29, 2014 3:32 pm

Southwestern Manitoban roads in ruins after repeated rainfall

WATCH: Water from recent rains flows over repeatedly damaged roads in Manitoba’s rural municipality of Edward.

RURAL MUNICIPALITY of EDWARDS, Man. — There’s a waterfall where there should be a road, gaping holes where there should be bridges.

In the rural municipality of Edwards, in the extreme southwestern corner of the Manitoba, there are few direct routes in and out of the region — only detours.

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The municipality declared a state of emergency before some 200 millimetres of rain fell June 30, and every rainfall since then further damaged what little repair work they’d done.

READ MORE: What’s to blame for Manitoba flood? Loss of wetlands, for one

Last Sunday, 75 mm of rain put a recently repaired road near Pierson under water again.

It’s one of the main routes used by the region’s booming oil industry.

“I’m disappointed, very disappointed that the Manitoba Government isn’t more in tune with what’s required to fix things out here,” said Debbie McMachan, a rural municipality councillor.

READ MORE: The rain has stopped, so why is Manitoba still flooding?

The municipality is hampered by new rules that require all major flood-related repair projects to be reviewed by provincially approved engineers before construction begins, she said.

RM officials were told it’s about “quality control,” she said, but the added step is delaying work. While municipalities could go ahead and start construction without an official stamp of approval, they might not receive disaster funding thatcovers 80 per cent of the cost of projects after a flood.

The bill is expected to hit $4 million this year.

“We just don’t have that in our budget,” said McMachan.

But every “road closed” sign is another hit to locals’ livelihoods, and potentially their lives.

“It’s scary, because it isn’t just a matter of a road being blown out or washed out, it’s can we get ambulances down this road? Can we get fire trucks, if necessary? We worry about our people.”

Watch Global Winnipeg Friday at 6 p.m. for more about the situation.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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