Temporary homes arrive for Manitoba flood victims
Published Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:32PM EST
It has been seven months since flooding forced hundreds of families living along one of Manitoba's largest lakes out of their homes, but the delivery of temporary dwellings means some will finally have a place to call home.
Still the St. Laurent area residents want answers from the government about when and if they can return to their houses.
The Manitoba government delivered 15 temporary homes to the St. Laurent area Sunday, providing temporary shelter for those displaced after a huge windstorm in late May pushed the waters from Lake Manitoba as far as half a kilometre inland.
The lake, which was already swollen from record spring flooding, was pushed up and over the homes by the high winds. The problem was aggravated further by the province's decision to divert more water into the lake to prevent flooding of nearby rivers.
This forced the families across the water-drenched area to scramble to find homes elsewhere. In the meantime, they wait for the government to resolve their claims and arrange compensation.
For months they have been asking the Manitoba government to give them some answers including a timeframe as to when they might be able to reclaim their homes.
Retired couple Joseph and Annette Viallet refused to leave the area and instead opted to live in cramped quarters at a seniors lodge. Although most gave up hope of a quick resolution to the problem, the couple refused to give up hope.
"You can't," said Annette Viallet. "It's our home you know. We are retired. We have nothing else."
Instead, the couple has returned daily to their home to check on the building's dehumidifiers and water pumps in hopes of preventing further damage.
The Vialettes will be one of more than a dozen families provided with the new modular homes.
But the Vialettes, like the other families and local officials, see the units as only temporary fixes to a longer-term problem. They have vowed to keep up their fight with the provincial government for a permanent solution to their situation.
"We have to keep fighting," Annette said. "Because if we don't who is going to fight for us."
The province says those moving into the temporary homes will be allowed to live there for two years and after that they will have the option of buying. Similar temporary structures will also be used to house flood victims in Lake St. Martin.
With a report by CTV's Jill Macyshon