Waterlogged organization encourages water stewardship

Rain barrels have long provided cost savings and conservation opportunities 
but this time they are being offered with a community kickback

After two devastating floods, Brandon’s Riverbank Inc. has been barely left afloat and is now looking to raise funds to rebuild, all the while keeping water stewardship in mind.

two young women standing together

Whitney Moir(l), program co-ordinator with Riverbank Inc., and Lois MacDonald(r), Riverbank Inc. development and tourism services, have teamed up to co-ordinate the organization’s rain barrel fundraiser.
photo: Jennifer Paige

“We are excited for this initiative. It will allow us to offer the public a chance to purchase a quality rain barrel for their home or property at a great price with a number of environmental benefits that will at the same time assist Riverbank to rebuild,” said program co-ordinator Whitney Moir.

Riverbank is a non-profit, charitable organization established 20 years ago by the City of Brandon to protect and enhance the 17 kilometres of river corridor that runs through the city. It focuses on offering interpretive programs and strives to educate the public on environmental stewardship.

Riverbank shares a building with Brandon’s Ducks Unlimited office and is the only building in Brandon located on the riverside of the city’s main dike.

In the flood of 2011 the property suffered severe damage, which affected nearly every one of the organization’s major projects.

flooding in Brandon, Manitoba

An aerial shot of the Riverbank Inc.’s main property during the peak of the 2011 flood.
photo: Riverbank Inc.

“After the flood in 2011 we started to look at ways to redevelop, keeping future flooding possibilities in mind, but then the 2014 flood happened and that was a game changer for us,” said Lois MacDonald of Riverbank’s development and tourism services. “We did not see it coming and there was so much force behind the water.”

Due to the flood waters’ prolonged stay into July and August, most of the river-bottom forest was lost.

“Washed-out sections of the riverbank have made it unsafe and impossible to continue to host the multitude of events that used to call this area home on an annual basis,” said MacDonald. “At this point we have moved into the stage of re-evaluating our next step forward.”

The organization recently sent out a request for proposals to develop a refreshed master plan.

“I am hopeful that we can find a solution and chart a path forward that will allow us to work with Mother Nature,” said MacDonald.

Buy a barrel

blue plastic rain barrel

The 55-gallon rain barrels include leaf and mosquito filter baskets, and an overflow adaptor that permits multiple barrels to be connected in a series.
photo: RainBarrel.ca

In the meantime, the organization has partnered with RainBarrel.ca to begin gathering funds for the rebuild.

“All of the rain barrels are made of recycled materials from plastic that had been used to transport fruit and vegetables,” said Moir.

The 55-gallon barrels include leaf and mosquito filter baskets, an overflow adaptor that permits multiple barrels to be connected in a series, 1.2 metres of overflow hose and a spigot that attaches directly to a garden hose.

“The barrels are $60 with $10 going towards Riverbank. This is a great deal as barrels of comparable size sell for over $100 in retail outlets, plus at the same time you are benefiting a community organization,” said Moir.

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Assiniboine river map

RainBarrel.ca has partnered with organizations throughout the country to encourage water stewardship and assist in raising funds for various initiatives such as this one.

“We consider it a privilege to work with our Brandon partner to raise funds for the work it does in the community,” said Larry Pomerantz, president of RainBarrel.ca. “We hope residents support this initiative and make a small investment in a rain barrel while supporting a local cause.”

Further details can found at rainbarrel.ca/Brandon.

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Paige

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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