July 4, 2014 10:55 pm
Updated: July 5, 2014 10:54 am

Manitoba prepares to cut dike at Hoop and Holler Bend

Manitoba infrastructure crews prepare to shut down highway 331 to the Hoop And Holler Bend near Portage La Prairie, Man., on Friday, July 4, 2014.

John Woods, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG – Residents who will be impacted by a planned breach at Hoop and Holler Bend on the Assiniboine River say they can’t believe they are going to see water around their businesses and homes again.

“To be honest, my first reaction was, ‘No, you’re kidding,’ ” said Shea Doherty, who learned from a customer a controlled breach would be made as early as Monday in order to alleviate some of the pressure on the Assiniboine River and the Portage Diversion, which takes flood water to the already high Lake Manitoba.

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The 2011 cut at the same place cost his family’s greenhouse tens of thousands of dollars. While that side of the business has since received some compensation, Doherty’s bee farm didn’t see a cent after they were forced to move the bees away from rising waters.

In 2011, the province prepared to release as much as 5,000 cubic feet per second of water at the river bend between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg, but in the end flows were around 500 CFS.

Officials warned Friday it is possible that as much as 5,000 CFS could be released in the upcoming breach.

“If that happens we will be flooded for sure,” said Doherty.

He wonders why more hasn’t been done to prepare for water flows like this.

After the flood of 1997, the province invested hundreds of millions of dollars in expanding the Red River Floodway. Doherty believes it’s time for similar expansion of the Portage Diversion.

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