Imagine you’re sitting in a beautiful place. Now add a person holding a gun to your head. Don’t worry. This is a trustworthy person working for the greater good, perhaps even someone you elected. This person has no intention of pulling the trigger unless the wind picks up or there’s a heavy rainfall. There’s no problem right now, so relax.
Is this working for you yet?
Now add a group of people taunting you. They’re good people too, just misinformed. They call out the bolded words below, and you don’t dare tell them the truth. The person holding the gun planted some of these rumours and you don’t want to make him angry. You whisper responses hoping someone, anyone might hear – and believe you.
- You chose to live in a flood plain. No, really, I didn’t. The last natural flood on Lake Manitoba happened in 1955. Our house is built above historic flood levels. The high water levels of 2014 are created by government choice, just like in 2011. We are once again taking the hit for places built on flood plains along the Assiniboine River.
- What does it matter, you’re just a rich cottage owner. Most of us planned carefully and saved hard to build our homes, doing most of the work ourselves. Before 2011 it was a great place, with live trees and a sandy beach.
- At least you have an emergency outlet, that should help. Why do people keep saying that? There is no emergency outlet for Lake Manitoba. The emergency outlet built in 2011 is for Lake St. Martin and has no direct effect on Lake Manitoba water levels.
- It’s just water. What’s the big deal? Sure, just water except for the logs, railroad ties, dead animals…Remember that gun? Unlike flooding rivers, high lake water and debris pushed by storm winds become a dangerous force crashing through windows, demolishing property.
- In 2011 we often heard the Premier say ‘we’ll make it right.’ Yes, I heard that too.
- Enough. There’s 61 million bucks available for flood-proofing and you’re not even using it! Okay, now the guy with the gun says, ‘Jump! High enough, and you get money to save yourself (flood mitigation).’ He watches you jump, then raises the bar – higher than you can leap (eligibility criteria). If you make it over the first hurdle (three estimates required), he sets up the next (we pay only for protection that works for river flooding) and the next (so sad, you applied too late or you did the work before this program started or didn’t use that specifically approved material or …) so you fall over exhausted before you get anywhere close to the money (application withdrawn).
- I read in the paper you guys are ‘crying wolf.’ Okay, maybe there won’t be an August storm this year. Winds will remain unnaturally calm. And maybe the guy holding the gun is a trustworthy person with good intentions.