‘We are breathing a sigh of relief’: RM of Morris reeve on flood situation

Winnipeg –

Water watchers are cautiously optimistic now that the Red River crest has passed through the Rural Municipality of Morris.

Reeve Ralph Groening said although the crest was recorded in the area last Friday, so far water levels have dropped by only a few inches.

“We’ll need a drop of two feet before people can begin the process of moving back into their homes, but there is hope,” Groening told CTV Morning Live on Monday.

On the weekend, the province confirmed the Red River peaked at Ste. Agathe, St. Adolphe and the Red River Floodway inlet on May 13. While it is stable or declining upstream of Winnipeg, the river is still expected to remain high likely into June.

Groening said this spring’s flooding has displaced about 150 residents. Of the 75 evacuation notices issued, residents of 50 properties chose to leave. Others who stayed did so to care for animals that could not be taken out of flood areas. Across Manitoba, more than 2000 residents are still away from their homes due to flooding.

Those who are anxious to return to a more normal life on their own property will have to wait for more than just the water to recede. When it does drop off, Groening said it’s likely to reveal damage that will have to be fixed before residents can gain full access again.

“We have dozens of roads that are still covered that will need repair, we have culvert washouts and we have debris. A huge flood deposits a lot of debris in low-lying areas so we are going to have to respond to that. We must repair the roads to an extent that people will be able to safely reach places from which they evacuated,” said Groening.

Some area communities, such as the Town of Morris, have had road and highway access severely restricted, affecting the flow of truck and car traffic. Groening said that’s not been the case for the main business centre of the RM, which is Rosenort. Rosenort is about 20 kilometres northwest of Morris and about 12 kilometres farther west of the Red River. That community has not seen access affected to the same extent as other towns.

Groening said the RM council plans to meet Monday morning to review and establish a plan to begin fixing damaged infrastructure as water continues to recede.

“I think we’re cautiously optimistic that we are looking at the end of the flood of 2022,”

With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagacé and Mason DePatie

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