Concerns rise with lake levels at Manitou Beach, Sask.

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Concerns rise with lake levels at Manitou Beach, Sask.
WATCH ABOVE: Little Manitou Lake is about 2.5 metres higher than average, threatening the iconic Danceland hall and making summer camp officials consider their options. Ryan Kessler reports – Aug 8, 2016

Rain in the Manitou Beach, Sask., area Monday had members of the community concerned for the future of the resort village on the shore of Little Manitou Lake.

In the seven years she’s worked at Camp Easter Seal, camp manager Su Hunyh has seen the impact the isolated salt water body has had on the shoreline.

“We certainly have lost some land,” Hunyh said.

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Rainfall and run-off collects in the lake with no natural drainage in place.

One barn on the camp’s property has long been surrounded by water. A breakwater designed to protect a nearby dock from wind has also been partially submerged.

While the camp remains operational, staff members have created an emergency plan should water threaten the safety of the 65 to 110 campers that visit at a time.

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“We have a higher road where we can transport all the campers out of camp and take them to the civic centre in Watrous,” Hunyh said.

Elsewhere along Manitou Beach, pumps beneath the 86-year-old Danceland hall work to keep the community cornerstone dry.

“We were the first building to be sitting in the lake in 2006,” said Danceland co-owner Millie Strueby.

Water levels in the area have been on the rise since 2010 and extreme weather with heavy precipitation in 2011 has created the current situation, according to Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) spokesperson Patrick Boyle.

The current level of the lake is about 2.5 metres higher than average, according to Manitou Beach Mayor Gerry Worobec.

“When you go up that high, [the water] spreads out a long ways,” he said.
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A solution, including increasing the height of current dirt berms and a diversion effort for freshwater run-off would cost $5.2 million, Worobec said.

However, the WSA doesn’t have “concrete numbers in yet” for the project, Boyle said.

The village would pay 25 per cent of the project, while the province would cover the remainder. However, Worobec said Manitou Beach officials would like to negotiate paying a lower percentage.

Manitou Beach is about five kilometres north of Watrous in central Saskatchewan.

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