KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

News Releases

April 30, 2013

Diversion stand-off indication of farmers' desperation: KAP

Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney says the incident at the Portage Diversion April 29 when farmers occupied the channel to prevent the diversion from opening is an indication of their desperation and frustration.

“We understand the despair these producers have been facing since the flood of 2011, when their homes and their livelihoods were destroyed,” Chorney said. “Their land was sacrificed when water from the Portage Diversion flooded Lake Manitoba and surrounding areas to protect downstream communities – and they have not been properly compensated for it to date.

“They were promised multi-year compensation by the Province because the land was so badly damaged in 2011 that it took all of the 2012 season to recover –and in most cases, things are still not back to normal.

“We’re talking pasture land, crop land and infrastructure. These farmers just want to go back to making a livelihood, and to ensure that if they are flooded again as a result of the opening of the diversion they will not have to endure future years of devastation.”

Chorney explained that it’s a complex situation in which the rules of the Lake Manitoba Financial Assistance Program – set up to assist these producers – do not account for the diminished productivity of the land in 2012.  Additionally, in some cases, the program did not even provide proper compensation for 2011.

“I understand the Province asked the federal government for funding, and I have attended meetings in which federal officials have been present – but I don’t think they have clearly communicated how they will assist with the situation here in Manitoba,” Chorney explained.

He stressed that the producers’ actions last evening were an attempt to make their voices heard, and were not done out of malice for those communities east of Portage that may have experienced flooding if the diversion did not open.

He urged the Province and the federal government to meet with affected landowners, re-examine the situation, and provide fair and adequate compensation. 


For more information, please contact:
Doug Chorney, president: 204-785-3626
Val Ominski, communications co-ordinator: 204-697-1140