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Thursday, 05 May 2011 08:38

Feds to help Sask. with flood costs

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By John R. Statton — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saskatchewan flood relief efforts will benefit from communication between two political pen pals.

Premier Brad Wall received a response from his letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which outlined the federal government’s financial support for the province.

“I want to thank the federal government for its swift and positive response to this request,” said Wall.

“I spoke to the Prime Minister and wrote to him about the flooding situation last week, andhe clearly understood the challenges facing Saskatchewan people and communities as a result of this year’s flooding.”

Harper committed the federal government to cost share Saskatchewan’s flood mitigation measures by 50 per cent.

The cost sharing would include any permanent flood mitigation measures taken which aren’t eligible under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

Costs of flood mitigation in Saskatchewan is currently estimated at approximately $50 million.

Sandbags up for grabs

With the threat of flooding all but gone, the City of Swift Current has offered its sandbags for the personal use of citizens.

Residents can also return sandbags to the City.

“We had a tremendous community effort in terms of filling sandbags, and with the extra inventory no longer needed, we want to let the public know that they are more than welcome to come by the Recreation Centre and pick up as any as desired — free of charge,” said Susan Motkaluk, Chief Administrative Officer for the City.

Despite the lower creek level, residents are advised to stay clear of the Swift Current Creek due to safety concerns.

The Duncairn Dam maintained a steady flow of approximately 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) from April 26 to May 3. Water volumes being released from the dam were reduced to 500 cfs the afternoon of the latter.

Late start for southwest farmers

Saskatchewan Agriculture has reported a few areas of the province have seen farmers start field work.

“There’s still snow, particularly in the southern parts. I talked to a producer in Shaunavon that still had snow,” said Grant McLean, cropping management specialist for Sask. Agriculture.

He said the majority of Saskatchewan producers are approximately two weeks away from seeding, due to excess moisture.

“I think the biggest concern here is getting the crop in the ground in a timely manner,” said McLean.

“It’s a little unusual for many people in the southwest to have this much moisture around, which is kind of a double-edged sword: it’s nice to have the moisture, but we’re used to getting going in the field at this time.”

Farming in the southwest region should be back on track, weather permitting.

“In the southwest, the pasture conditions were good to excellent, with the exception being right around the Cypress Hills,” said McLean.

“Because of the cool temperatures they’re not advancing as fast as we normally expect this time of year, that was the main factor.”

However, one producer doesn’t expect to begin seeding by the government’s prediction.

“Flooding was a big impact, but I think it’s over with now — there’s no more runoff," said Isaac Hattum, who farms in the R.M. of Lac Pelletier.

“It’ll take another three weeks to get down to seeding, but I don’t know how long the water is going to last.”

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