(A home abandoned because of flooding in Lake St. Martin)
APTN National News
The Manitoba government is working with several First Nation communities to prevent future flooding in the Interlake region.
Premier Brian Pallister along with Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen announced a collaboration with 14 First Nations to determine the preferred route for the new Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels.
The new channels with help with future flood risks.
“For far too long Manitobans living around Lake Manitoba and Lake St Martin have waited for flood relief,” said Pedersen on Wednesday.
“That is why our government has committed to the construction of flood protection infrastructure to keep Manitobans and their communities safe including outlet channels to elevate flooding around Lake Manitoba and Lake St Martin.”
Pallister said the best way to proceed with the projects is to consult with the First Nation communities affected directly and indirectly by the flooding.
“Our government recognizes that the best path forward for these projects is that by assuring Manitoba undertakes comprehensive engagement, collaboration and consultation with First Nations communities that may be impacted by these projects,” he said.
The premier went on to say the consultations between the First Nations affected by the channels is, “one of the most comprehensive, thorough and robust constitutional crown consultations with Indigenous communities in the history of Manitoba.”
In 2011 18 First Nations were evacuated due to severe and extensive flooding. Lake St. Martin First Nation was one of the hardest hit by the flood.
The community is only moving back home this summer with 190 new homes being sent to the community by November.
The new channels are expected to prevent severe flooding.
Pedersen said channel construction will begin in 2019.
The Lake St. Martin channel will be an enhancement of the current emergency channel in place – it will be 23 km long.
The Lake Manitoba channel will also be 23 km long and will work the current infrastructure on the channel.
The project comes with a $500 million price tag.
Pallister said Manitoba is working with the federal government to share the costs.
He said the project will also provide, “significant opportunities to support job creation and create new economic opportunities for the Indigenous communities.”
Consultations with First Nations have started and will continue into the next year.
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