Winnipeg hopes province will pony up $500K for spring flooding wish list

Click to play video: 'Red River Basin Commission on spring flooding potential'
Red River Basin Commission on spring flooding potential
WATCH: Commission managing director Steve Strang chats about the potential for spring flooding, different measures Manitoba communities have put in place and the importance of ice breaking. – Feb 21, 2020

Winnipeg has a $640,000 spring flooding wish list it’s hoping the province will pay for in part.

The city outlined what equipment and projects it wants the province to fund in an administrative report for executive policy committee. It will go to council Thursday for approval before the city sends it to the province.

Earlier in February, the province announced a $3 million fund meant to help municipalities with flood preparation projects and equipment costs.

The city’s full funding list adds up to $640,000, but the maximum amount of money it could receive from the province caps out at $500,000.

The city’s application to the new provincial fund includes $200,000 for sandbags meant to build temporary dikes — the biggest ask — followed by $150,000 for engineering consulting and training fees for updating and enhancing the city’s electronic flood management system.

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The city’s report, prepared by the water and waste department’s director Moira Geer, notes the flood management system needs updates to make sure the procedures are up to date.

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The city is also hoping for cameras and data plans to monitor ice conditions and watch for potential ice jams during the spring melt. Winnipeg has nine cameras already, but wants ten more.

Among the requests is a $115,000 7-by-16 foot “rapid response” trailer equipped with a generator, lamps, water pumps and hand tools.

The city also wants $34,000 in Mustang flotation jackets — personal flotation devices that range from $349 to more than $500 each.

The city estimates measuring ice thickness at strategic locations around Winnipeg will cost $15,000.

It’s also looking for lighting equipment, generators and water rescue equipment, including boats, trailers, motors and ropes among other gear, plus office equipment for emergency operation centres and command posts.

With the exception of sand bags, which have a shelf life and can only be used once, most of the equipment and training will help the city prepare for floods for years to come, said Chris Carroll, the city’s wastewater services manager.

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“Flooding is a unique issue that comes our way that we can prepare for — you definitely don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute looking for materials, especially if its quite a large event, we won’t be the only municipality looking for materials,” Carroll said.

Read the report and the full list:

The Province is expected to release its first flood forecast for the year later this week.

The town of Grand Forks, N.D. has already declared a state of emergency for later this spring, as it deals with record-breaking precipitation in the state’s portion of the Red River basin.

While a flood in North Dakota does not guarantee a flood in Manitoba, it is one of the risk factors local flood forecasters include in their calculations.

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Southern Manitoba has seen significantly less precipitation this winter than its neighbour to the south.

–With files from Elisha Dacey

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