Lake Manitoba just saw the completion of the east outside drain at its lakeshore in the Lake Manitoba Outlet Structure.
RM of Portage la Prairie Ward 3 Councillor Ryan Kontzie explains the overall project.
"The province, this winter, has completed the project of putting in two big culverts, along with carp gates, as well. They, basically, opened up the lakeshore again down to the blind channel, which was a great project completed. However, we're still continuing to work with them to connect and finish the drain from there to Road 78. It's very hard to maintain the blind channel, get in there to access it and keep water flowing at a normal level."
Kontzie says an extreme amount of water flows through this particular drain and most don't realize that.
"Basically, all water from Saskatchewan Ave. north in Portage Prairie flows north to that drain," says Kontzie. "That is where it goes to from the 240 highway to the Portage Diversion from Saskatchewan Avenue north. Previous to this, it was having to go backwards through the Delta Marsh, under the 240 highway and out through the channel. The normal, mother nature's flow is to the northwest. The diversion does cut that off."
He explains this is what's so great about having this channel, noting it's been closed since the flood of 2011.
"This is a great thing for all residents of Ward 3," notes Kontzie. "The timeframe is never fast enough, but we will do our best to work with the province and, hopefully, get this done this coming year. It's a high priority for me in the ward. Council, administration and public works have been great to help out on this project. They have been helping council with it and dealing with the province. It's been a great team effort getting it done."
Kontzie says the closure kept the water from backflowing, seeing as the lake was quite high.
"However, after that, it never got opened up again," adds Kontzie. "We've been dealing with it since then, so that has been far too long. We're hoping that we can finish connecting the dots in a timely fashion. It's certainly a high priority for me."