Have you tried Pickleball yet? Try it at the Access Event Centre. Equipment provided!

For more info, click here.

Municipal officials, past and present, had a chance to reminisce about Manitoba's Flood of Century Wednesday night in Morris.

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic spring flood that hit the Red River Valley back in 1997 and initiated an evacuation of whole communities south of Winnipeg. It was the most severe flood on the river since 1826.

A public presentation and discussion was hosted by the Red River Basin Commission at the Morris Multiplex dealing with the theme: Treading Water. A Rural Perspective on the 1997 Red River Flood.flood of century2 hoffmanDale Hoffman

Three of the presenters, who were at the forefront in the battle to protect their communities, included Herm Martens, former reeve for the Rural Municipality of Morris, former mayor of Emerson Wayne Arseny, and Charlie Nelson representing the Roseau River First Nation.

For Wayne Arseny, the thing that stands out the most about that event was all the work that went into saving the town of Emerson. He feels that effort, not only benefited the community, but all of southern Manitoba.

Emerson was the first point of contact in southern Manitoba for the massive floodwaters coming down the Red River from the United States-floodwaters that had caused extensive damage to the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota and forced the evacuation of about 52,000 residents there. In an effort to avoid such a disaster in Manitoba, a massive undertaking was launched into strengthening and building up the ring dike protecting the Emerson against the river. The success of those efforts gave hope to other ring diked communities like Letellier, St. Jean and Morris further downstream.

"1997 was a bit of a wake up call for all of us to things differently and work cooperatively with the Americans, which is happening right now, and I think that's a huge success," said Arseny.

Herm Martens has vivid memories of his time as reeve for the RM of Morris during the '97' flood

"I spent 44 days where I left home before 6am every morning and came back at midnight," said Martens. "I went through the 1979 flood and there was also 1974, and then we got hit by the 1996 flood, but we had never seen something like the flood of '97'."

Martens feels the 1996 flood, which was a significant flood in itself, gave his municipal team a taste of the kind of leadership that would be needed to help their ratepayers through that disaster theflood of century3 martensHerm Martens following year. He is also proud of the work the municipality invested in flood mitigation in the years following 1997, putting ratepayers in a better position to protect their families and property.

"When I look back on the 2009 flood, which was almost as high as '97', we were feeling a little guilty because we as a municipality weren't really doing anything compared to what we had done in 1997. We had mitigated most of the flood hot spots in the municipality, which allowed business and industry to continue despite the high water."

Dale Hoffman says the 1997 flood creates mixed emotions for him when reflecting on how the town of Morris battled the flood of the century. Hoffman, who was mayor of the community in '97', says there were some very difficult situations that municipal leaders had to deal with, some of which were created by the provincial government.

Hoffman recalls a very tense situation that occurred when the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization issued an order for everyone in the ring diked communities to evacuate, including those volunteers who were helping with the flood fight.

"There were about 30 volunteers who were willing to stay back to protect the community. We told the government that we weren't leaving and EMO got rather persistent. I paced around until 3 a.m. wondering if I had made the right decision. From the information I was receiving, our town was not going under, and I made the decision to accept the responsibility of the lives of everyone staying behind. That is one of the first memories that comes back to haunt me. It was a tough decision, but it was the right one."

flood of century arsenyWayne ArsenyWednesday evening's event was not only an opportunity to look back, but to reflect on the flood mitigation that has occurred over the past two decades and to look for ways to better manage floodwaters in the future.

"Here in the valley we either have too much water or we don't have enough," said Arseny. "The majority of our drinking water in this region comes from the Red River and I really think we have to start looking at water retention on the tributaries and start building reservoirs, big bodies of water that can be used recreationally, but also ensure a water supply for the future."

Hoffman agrees with a strategy to capture and hold water by building large storage areas.

"We should be looking at that. Another thought I've shared with the Red River Basin board is building a channel that runs parallel to the Red River that would take 25 per cent of the flow. Now, realistically, the reason that won't happen is because most governments are in power for four years or a litte more, and this would be a 10 to 20 year project. No government plans that far ahead, because they know they're not going to be there. That's unfortunate, because we need that kind of long term planning," he said.


Have you tried Pickleball yet? Try it at the Access Event Centre. Equipment provided!

For more info, click here.

More Local News

Police and Fire Crews Respond to Two Car Crash in Altona

Emergency crews were called to a mid-morning collision Thursday in Altona. The incident appeared to have been between two vehicles at the intersection of PR 30 and Centre Ave. on the east side of…

Winkler's Nature Sanctuary Has New Name, Big Plans (Gallery)

Winkler's nature sanctuary has a bright future ahead of it. The newly named Discovery Nature Sanctuary offers a unique experience for those living in the city says Paul Goossen, Chair of the…

Pembina Valley's Hidden Poverty Revealed During Forum In Carman

Carman United Church hosted a public forum Tuesday to discuss poverty in the Pembina Valley as part of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. One of the organizers, Minister Karen Tjaden of…

Access Credit Union S.V.P. and C.O.O Takes On Stars Rescue On The Island

Myrna Wiebe, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer with Access Credit Union (ACU) is raising money for STARS Air Ambulance. The fundraiser called STARS Rescue on the Island will airlift…

Health Minister Says Announcements Of Changes Largely Completed

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says he has finished all of the major announcements regarding the changes in the delivery of health care in Manitoba. Goertzen adds that while change is constant in…

Altona And Australian Sunflower Queens Prepare For 2017 Festival

The Australian Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival Queen is visiting Altona. Anna Rixon was crowned Easter Sunflower Queen in Emerald, Australia and will be participating in the Manitoba…

Municipalities Benefit From Provincial Road Funding

The province is helping to pay for a handful of road improvement projects in Pembina Valley and Red River Valley. 188 projects in 99 municipalities across Manitoba were approved for money through the…

UPDATE: Moped Accident In Winkler (VIDEO)

Emergency service crews including Winkler Police and Winkler Fire responded to an accident on 1st St. in Winkler Tuesday afternoon. The accident appears to have occurred at the corner of 1st St. and…

Improved Safety Behind Stanley Hwy 32 Paving Project

The RM of Stanley Council has formed a partnership with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT) on a pair of projects to be completed this summer. The two sections of road are on PTH 32…

Morden Police Seeking Help To Identify Suspected Shoplifters

The theft of a PlayStation 4 from Shoppers Drug Mart in Morden ended up being only a portion of items taken by the suspects in the case. The PlayStation theft was previously reported by Morden Police…

Worldwide 4-H Members Gather In Ottawa

Thirty-five 4-H representatives from Manitoba attended the Global 4-H Summit that took place in Ottawa, Ont. from July 11 to 14. Youth delegates at the 2017 Global 4-H Summit in Ottawa, Ont.Over 500…

Province Backs W.C. Miller Gym Project

"We finally got our gym for W.C. Miller!" said Craig Smiley excitedly following an announcement Tuesday that the Province will help fund construction of a new gym at the Altona high school. "We are…

Altona Man Gets Jail Time for Child Porn

An Altona man has received four years in jail after pleading guilty to making and possessing child pornography. The mid-30 year old was originally arrested in December 2014. A number of additional…

Non-Life Threatening Injuries Sustained in Highway 75 Rollover

RCMP responded to a single vehicle collision near Emerson Tuesday afternoon. A semi trailer traveling in the southbound lane on Highway 75 entered the ditch and rolled approximately two miles north…

Stage To Be Ready For Harvest Festival Weekend

As the 2017 Winkler Harvest Festival weekend draws closer, so does the completion of the main stage renovation project. Festival backstage and hospitality director Eva Harder says they've been told…

Scam Puts Local Woman At Risk Of Losing $2,500

Winkler Police recently received a complaint from a woman who believes she was the victim of fraud after attempting to purchase a vehicle online. The woman used a company based in Newfoundland which…

Medical Officer Of Health Says Awareness Key To Easier Breathing

Forest fires burning in B.C. and Alberta have been a factor in reduced air quality in recent weeks, including here in Southern Manitoba. That on top on heat can be a major irritant for people,…

7-6 Ranch Steak And Lobster Fest Has Record Setting Year

The 17th annual 7-6 Ranch Steak and Lobster Fest near Carman raised its highest amount to date this year. In excess of $75,000 was raised this year explained event host Debbie Middleton. "We have…

Possible Water Service Interruption Scheduled For PVWC Members

Some slight maintenance work could create a possible disruption in service to Pembina Valley Water Co-op customers tonight. CEO Greg Archibald says a meter is being changed at the Letellier treatment…

New Clothing Store Brings Added Options And Variety To Winkler

The newest clothing store in Winkler, PV Threads, held its Grand Opening this past weekend. Owner Trudy Wiebe explains she wanted to bring more clothing store options to the region. Wiebe began by…

PembinaValleyOnline.com is your only local source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Dog Town Sunday Market

23 July 2017 - 29 October 2017, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Dog Town

Plum Coulee VBS

23 July 2017 - 27 July 2017, 6:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Plum Coulee Bergthaler Mennonite Church, Plum Coulee

Summer Art Camp - Week 2

24 July 2017 - 28 July 2017, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pembina Hills Arts Council, Morden

Summer Art Camp - Pottery

25 July 2017 - 04 August 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Pembina Hills Arts Council, Morden

Try it: Taekwondo

26 July 2017 - 27 July 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Morden Access Event Centre, Morden

Yoga in the Village (Neubergthal)

26 July 2017 - 27 July 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Village of Neubergthal, Halbstadt

Volunteer Driver Workshop - Winkler & District Handi-Van

27 July 2017 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Winkler Senior Centre, Winkler