Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson took a helicopter tour Tuesday of Whiteshell Provincial Park – the latest region of the province to be hit by flood waters in one of the wettest springs on record.
The park in southeastern Manitoba, which is popular with cottagers but also home to some year-round residents, has seen sections swamped by the rising Winnipeg River.
Many cottagers have had to sandbag their properties, docks and boathouses have been damaged or swept away, and a large swath of the park was under an evacuation order as water covered roadways.
“There’s so much water out there. It’s overwhelming,” Stefanson said after landing in Winnipeg.
Water levels on most Whiteshell lakes have nearly equalled or exceeded previous historic records after a very rainy spring. The evacuation order, which was expanded Tuesday, applies to cottage subdivisions, commercial areas, campgrounds, trails and beaches.
Officials at the Otter Falls Resort posted social media pictures of sandbags in a long line on the property and announced they would be shut down for two weeks.
“We are hopeful things will return back to normal soon.”
Other areas of the province were still dealing with flooding that started earlier in the season.
In western Manitoba, bridges near Mafeking reopened on the weekend after being washed out last week.
In central Manitoba, the Fisher River continued to recede at Peguis First Nation, but its level was still well above normal. A mass evacuation remained in effect there, with more than 1,800 people sent to other communities.
South of Winnipeg, a section of Highway 75 – the main link between the capital city and the United States – remained closed by the swollen Red River and its tributaries.
Stefanson said this has been a flood year like no other.
“What is different is that it is coming from all ... directions, I would say. And so, it’s affecting many more Manitobans at the same time than maybe it has in the past.”
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