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Letters – for Feb. 3, 2011

I am writing you with reference to the Jan. 27 announcement of an agreement in principle between Manitoba and Saskatchewan regarding transfer of flood waters from Fishing Lake in Saskatchewan into the Upper Assiniboine River Basin. A number of assurances have been given with regard to this flow that I believe are inaccurate as they affect the landowners’ flooding issues downstream of the Shellmouth Dam.

I am a landowner and rancher in the R.M. of Russell and have sustained considerable loss to unnatural flooding caused by the operation of the Shellmouth Dam and Lake of the Prairies Reservoir over the last number of years. The capacity of the river from Shellmouth to St. Lazare has been exceeded almost continuously for the last five years.

Manitoba Water Stewardship has given our organization (Assiniboine Valley Producers) assurances that we will be compensated for losses that occur, but their past track record would speak differently. I have a claim currently for losses that occurred January through March of 2009 for exactly the same situation that they are recommending. To date this situation has not been settled and we still have not received any compensation or confirmation of same.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan have agreed on a proposal to control the increased flow of water from Fishing Lake, but there is no mention of the increase in flow that has been created in the last 12 months by illegal or sanctioned agricultural drainage that has occurred over the watershed of the Upper Assiniboine. I can guarantee you that this drainage has not been quantified or controlled; it hasn’t been for the last 25 years.

Given the above facts, I must condemn this agreement. The river in this region does not have the capacity to handle a drop more water, given that fact that it is beyond its capacity currently. I would ask that all members pressure this government to revisit this issue immediately, otherwise our flooding issues and our livelihoods are in peril.

Cliff Trinder Russell, Man. of creation have been brushed aside for the benefit of growth and profit.

We either pay up now, or later at a much greater cost. Are we going to dismiss the perils of not paying attention and continue our relentless pace of what we refer to as progress and economical development?

We have been repeatedly warned we are on a dangerous path. We subordinate ecological concerns to the demand of economy, political and personal ambition. The planet can no longer sustain this relationship and needs to heal.

We can see that life is a cycling phenomenon which forms within a single system. Nothing stands alone – no individual, species or community. For in a cycle each thing and each event in one way or another is connected with everything else. We are but strands in the web of life and what we do to the web, we ultimately do to ourselves.

Once we accept this simple understanding and dedicate a commitment to improve our ways, there is hope that mankind will survive. If we choose to continue on our present collision path with nature, we will perish in the holocaust that we have created.

Therefore, economic development needs to take into consideration the integrity and rhythm of nature because natural resources are limited and finite. And all economic activity that uses natural resources must include the “costs of safeguarding” the environment into the calculations of the overall costs of its activity.

This would be an excellent time to redefine the word… “progress” and contemplate the consequences of future actions in a sober and respectful manner.

John Fefchak Virden, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

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