Finance minister to attend flood meeting

Producers still feeling the effects of the 2011 flood hope a public meeting will give them answers on compensation

After a year of promises and tours by officials, producers in the Lake Manitoba region say they have been left adrift in the flood of 2011 — alone and without proper compensation.

On Feb. 22, the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee will host a public meeting at the Meadow-Lea Hall near Marquette in an attempt to get some answers and possibly compensation for those still affected by the ongoing effects of the flood.

Rancher Tom Teichroeb chairs the committee, which represents nearly a dozen municipalities and villages around Lake Manitoba. He said producers are still incurring costs as a result of high water in 2011. Farmers have been left saddled with unusable pasture land, while also paying for Crown lands they can’t use and destroyed forage land they can’t insure, he said.

“We need to be able to recover these expenses. We have to be able to receive some type of compensation… we paid for Crown land we could not use, I paid bank payments on the land I bought and couldn’t use last year, and over and above that we have to go and rent land to substitute for land we can’t use.”

2012, not 2011

Compensation was promised to producers affected by Lake Manitoba flooding in 2011, and was delivered to producers that same year, said Teichroeb, adding that 2011 isn’t the issue the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee is concerned about.

“The issue is with 2012, and that is where I want to be very, very clear,” he said.

Teichroeb said staff from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives toured affected areas last summer, while Minister Ron Kostyshyn toured affected locations in the Interlake, Teichroeb said.

Despite that awareness, the rancher said compensation has not been provided for continuing problems in 2012.

“My own personal opinion… is that they have simply chosen not to (compensate) and we want to find out why,” he said.

Organizers had hoped to be able to put that question to Minister Kostyshyn on Friday, but it appears they won’t have the opportunity to.

A spokeswoman for the minister said he will not be attending the meeting.

“We do have some of the right people coming to the meeting, but we need to get Mr. Kostyshyn there too,” said Teichroeb. “If he’s not at that meeting… he’s really missing the boat.”

However, Manitoba Finance Minister Stan Struthers will attend, as will Robert Sopuck, member of parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.

There have been questions about the federal government’s role in providing assistance as well, as the province is reimbursed for as much as 90 per cent of its flood compensation costs by Ottawa.

Teichroeb hopes the meeting will provide answers.

“It’s not about trying to understand what the damage is,” he said. “It’s about understanding they need to deliver compensation.”

The meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m., at the junction of Highway 227 and 248, just north of Marquette.

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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