Rural communities pleading for financial aid after extreme flooding

By | August 1, 2020

WINNIPEG — Record high rainfalls and extreme flooding ravaged the town of Minnedosa and the RM of Minto-Odanah this Spring.

Both declared states of emergency, but have not received any financial assistance from the province.

Pat Skatch, the mayor of Minnedosa, said the town is still recovering from the flood. She describes the storm damage as mass devastation.

“It washed out streets. It destroyed homes,” said Skatch. “It just did a lot of damage [to] personal business and infrastructure for our municipality.”

She said Minnedosa residents were already struggling due to COVD-19, and the flood only added to their challenges.

“We’re looking at the provincial government to help out with disaster relief,” said Skatch.

Dougald Lamont, leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, went to Minnedosa and saw the damage firsthand.

He said this flood was a disaster, and the government needs to provide disaster financial assistance to Minnedosa and surrounding communities.

“If they [provide financial assistance], they can then unlock federal funding as well,” said Lamont. “But right now, we have a roadblock, and that roadblock or bottleneck is the provincial government.”

Lamont said the federal government couldn’t offer financial assistance until the province designates the flood as a disaster.

He said now isn’t the time for the province to be tight with cash.

“The province says we’ve got a rainy day fund that’s over $500 million, well this was the rainiest day in a thousand years,” stated Lamont.

Doug Dowsett, reeve of the RM of Minto-Odanah, located slightly south of Minnedosa, said floodwater washed out roads and collapsed bridges in his RM.

Most of the damage has been repaired, but he still hasn’t been told if they’ll be getting disaster financial assistance.

“We do need assistance,” Dowsett said. “If it doesn’t come, we’ll have to borrow from the local bank and pay it back over a number of years.”

Skatch said the Town of Minnedosa has submitted damage estimates to the province, and are waiting to hear back.

“It’d be nice to know that there was some financial assistance moving forward to help them,” she said.

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