Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lake St.. Martin First Nation says "fuhgeddaboudit"

A recent story in the FreeP told us about how the St. martin First Nation has seen many members reject the proposal for temporary housing to be located in Gypsumville. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/flood-evacuees-wary-of-temporary-housing-hotel-stays-costing-about-4m-a-month-138124428.html Some folks don't understand.
There are those who leap to the idea that people LIKE to live in hotels away from home, that this is somehow fun.
Think about it. Just for a minute. Take your kids, pack a suitcase and go to a hotel for a year. Good times.
So why reject this offer? Eric Robinson thinks it's a good idea... and he wouldn't steer them wrong, would he?

Let's look at the track record.

The NDP Government through (then) Minister Melnick's office of Manitoba Water Stewardship decided to push more water into Lake Manitoba through the Portage Diversion because they have neglected maintaining the Assiniboine River and it's flood barriers for many years. That water ended up flowing into Lake St. Martin, flooding that community. The irony in all that is that MWS didn't open Fairford Control early enough to release water into the Fairford/Dauphin River during the winter when the lake level was rising (MWS denies the visible evidence of that with graphs and charts) to save the community, which was lost any way. All this after such dismal flood forecasting that one would think Philip Mutulu should be packed off and sent to Batagues, Mexico to ply his trade there (at least he can do no harm there).
Then we have the stellar efforts during the flood. remember the Hoop and Hollar? That big flood prevention effort that never really was? Clearly these people acted in a manner that demonstrated the had NO IDEA what they were doing.
Then the flood inundation maps started rolling out, wind set up warnings... these things showed water rushing kilometers inland which presumably would be "trapped" should such an event occur. Sure, it was all based on basic topography, but these maps put the fear into people. EMO representatives told farmers to move their equipment and livestock to high ground, write off the year insofar as crops go (don't even bother seeding). By that point MWS had so mishandled the situation that they had to appear to be doing something and taking matters seriously.
During the flood fighting phase people with properties were told that they weren't allowed to continue to build dikes, but that "professionals" were going to carry on the work. Residents and property owners would be permitted to work behind the scenes. This was a great idea until we found out these professionals were NOT from Holland where dike building is a bit of a perfected art form, rather they were any Provincial employee who "volunteered" to come out for the day (with pay) to toss some bags. Great plan. The second largest lake in Manitoba with MILES of shore needing protection and they're going to finish it all up with a few buses full of Provincial staffers who haven't worked since they had their last job in the private sector... or some of them, ever before. Another idea that crashed and burned, except that we lost about three weeks to this stupidity. All the sand bags loaded onto pallets, no one coming to build dikes... go back home... no you can't protect your own property, it's too dangerous. You can't make shit this stupid up.
Then we have the "ditch". $100 million  for a ditch dug in record time, capable of draining Lake St. Martin to a marsh in Lake Winnipeg. Great plan with huge flaws. The great plan was to again appear to be doing something. The masses figured that they had contributed their tax dollars to a solution and were able to forget about it all. After all, it's just like the flood way... right? Wrong.
The ditch is only capable of draining Lake St. Martin, and I openly questioned the ability for this ditch to have much of any effect on Lake Manitoba. Hydraulics just DON'T work that way. If you have stupid people talking about draining water, they compare it all to a bathtub. Pull the plug, and it all goes down the drain. Gravity! There is resistance to flow, especially at the outlet where it drains into a swamp. How much water "flows" through a swamp? how deep is a swamp... four feet? Five? Now freeze the top two feet. What's left? Three feet maximum? Now fill that three feet with reeds and growth and see how fast water "flows". It's natures FILTER. Filters don't work quickly.
Add to that the fact that Fairford control structure is STILL unable to drain all of the inflowing water from the Waterhen River. The bottle neck at Fairford wasn't, and likely won't be addressed. The ditch does little or nothing, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Feds tell them, "Sorry, but you wasted all that cash. We're not paying for it. Now had you actually DONE something useful..."
To make people think the NDP is going to help everyone out, they announced many programs and assistance (much of which is inaccessible). The department is so slow, three toed sloths are in for a run for their "slowest mammal" standing.
It took months of filling out on line forms, opening claims and phoning MWS to get an appointment to view properties. Now it takes more months to get any sort of official responses to those claims. Some have gone six months, and heard nothing. Phone calls are met with, "Letters are coming out shortly." When pressed with what "shortly" is, you're told, "A few weeks." That was three months ago.
The lake has dropped one foot since October. Yes... $100 million to drop one foot. Good job Greg.

Back to the First Nation.

They don't believe this "plan" is a good idea. I wonder why. Seeing how badly the entire situation has been handled by "Today's NDP", seeing that it's been almost a year to come up with a "temporary housing plan", seeing that at every turn the Government pin heads seem to manage to screw things up beyond belief and are incapable of fore seeing the eventual outcome of their single dimensioned thinking, is it any wonder the Band is reticent to believe anything they are told?

My first response throughout this entire ordeal has been the same as their. Skepticism and a disbelief in the Government's ability to manage anything well.

These people are right to refuse this "temporary solution" since Government employees have nothing but time to find a permanent solution. After all... they don't really have any measurable goals, so no one can hold them to account, and even if they did, no one ever holds anyone to account.

Proof? Consider how Philip Mutulu was never seen or heard from again in the media after his dismal work, and how the Minister praised the staff for their hard work.

What a load of BS.

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