Left to Right: MLA Drew Caldwell; Premier Greg Selinger; Mayor of Brandon Shari Decter Hirst. The province has purchased two new $35,000 sandbag-making machines and will position one in Brandon to serve the Westman area of the province where it is anticipated the Assiniboine River and feeder streams will produce high water levels with potential for widespread flooding this spring.

Westman Flood-fighting Efforts Enhanced with $35,000 Machine: Selinger 

The province has purchased two new $35,000 sandbag-making machines and will position one in Brandon to serve the Westman area of the province where it is anticipated the Assiniboine River and feeder streams will produce high water levels with potential for widespread flooding this spring, Premier Greg Selinger announced here today. 

Premier Selinger

“The new machine will be ready to produce thousands of sandbags for use in the Westman area including the city of Brandon,” said Selinger.  “Levels along the Assiniboine River were unusually high going into the winter freeze-up and flood outlooks suggest flooding in many areas along the Assiniboine, even with average winter weather.”  

The two new machines bring the provincial complement to five. The province will also purchase metal bins and conveyor belts to use with the sandbag-making machines.  Each machine has multiple sand chutes that increase sandbag production.  At full production, this type of machine can produce 35,000 bags in an eight-hour shift. 

To be fully effective, each sandbag-making system will require about 40 volunteers.  

“We are counting on Manitobans in all areas of the province to continue the great tradition of stepping up to help when nature sends what is expected to be very high water our way,” said Selinger. 

The Shellmouth reservoir has been lowered by 6.1 metres (20 feet) to 424 m (1,391.4 ft.) and is expected to be reduced by another 2.1 m (seven ft.) to 421.8 m (1,384 ft.) before the spring melt begins.  Maintenance work at the Portage Diversion is underway including dredging the reservoir, providing erosion protection and removing excess vegetation.  The Assiniboine River dikes east of Portage la Prairie are being assessed and will be strengthened as needed, the premier said. 

“The Manitoba government and municipalities are continuing to prepare for spring flooding by working at the local level with front-line municipal emergency management teams,” he added.  “Our principal flood response team was in Brandon earlier this week to meet with regional officials and will keep communications lines open until the flood threat has passed.”