What Peguis First Nation leaders say needs to happen to end flooding issues

Manitoba First Nations leaders are calling on the provincial and federal governments to collaborate and end flooding in Peguis First Nation.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson and Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, called on the two levels of government to invest in permanent infrastructure to keep the community safe from flooding.

“This issue surrounding flooding at Peguis First Nation has to come to an end, in terms of our people being impacted by high waters,” Hudson said.

This year, the Fisher River overflowed its banks, flooding Peguis First Nation and forcing the evacuation of more than 1,800 people from the community. Many are now in Winnipeg, Brandon and other communities until the water recedes and it is safe for them to return home.

“Our citizens shouldn’t be staying in hotel rooms here in Winnipeg, and should be given the opportunity to start to protect ourselves going forward for many, many generations, and not simple Band-Aid solutions,” Daniels said.

Hudson said earlier this month that this year’s flooding in Peguis First Nation is the fourth major flood in the past 12 years.

He is demanding help from the province to improve roads and drainage in the region.

“We deserve drainage too, we deserve proper funding, and we deserve proper roadways, just like any other Manitoban and Canadian,” Hudson said.

During a Friday morning announcement, Saint Boniface MP Dan Vandal said the federal government is in constant communication with Peguis. He said he spoke with Hudson last week on flood mitigation planning, and asked Hudson to share plans with his office.

“I absolutely think we need to find a long-term solution, so I’m going to work cooperatively with the chief and the First Nation and try to find a long-term solution to the flooding,” he said.

Vandal added, “It has happened too often in the past, and we need to find a remedy in partnership with the First Nation and the province.”

A spokesperson for the Manitoba government said the province is assessing damage to provincial infrastructure as river levels begin to recede.

“Our government is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations leadership, surrounding communities and the federal government to address long-term flood mitigation improvements,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

 “Throughout this flood event, the province has been working closely with all local authorities, Indigenous communities and emergency management partners during these challenges to support all response and recovery activities.”

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