News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

July 25, 2014


Discussions Underway to Create Canada's First Centre for Rapid First Nation Flood Response: Ministers Ashton, Robinson

The Manitoba government is creating a new assistance program for fishers to help cover losses related to the use of the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel and undertaking discussions with the federal government to establish an emergency operations centre to provide First Nations in the Interlake with a rapid flood-fighting arsenal, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton and Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson announced today following a tour of flood-affected areas in the Interlake.

“Our priority is helping families, businesses and communities deal with the flood and come out of this stronger,” said Minister Ashton.  “These investments will help get lives back to normal while we work toward major flood protection projects that will prevent future flood disruption long-term.”

The minister said the provincial assistance program for the Dauphin River and Lake St. Martin fisheries affected by the operation of the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel will provide compensation for fishing opportunities lost while the channel is being used and will also reimburse the cost of damaged nets and replacing damaged docks.  The Manitoba government will also appoint an independent commissioner to promptly deal with any appeals that may arise under the program.

The frequency and severity of flooding in Manitoba over the last four years is without precedent, Minister Robinson said.  Manitoba has seen historic water levels at many points along the Assiniboine River and its watershed and lake levels continue to rise.  

“The increased severity and frequency of flooding create a serious challenge in the Interlake and First Nation communities have been disproportionately and most significantly affected,” said Minister Robinson.  “Working with the federal government to create a permanent emergency operations centre will help address current flood protection vulnerabilities, while we also work together on long-term solutions.”   

The minister said such a centre would be the first emergency operations centre for First Nations in Canada.  The idea was proposed by the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs after the success of the North Red Waterway Maintenance consortium, which centralizes flood response for communities along the Red River north of Winnipeg.  Initial plans for the centre include rapid-response flood equipment stationed centrally in the Lake St. Martin area. 

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