To get ahead of the ice jams before they can develop on the Red River, the Province of Manitoba has already put two icebreaking Amphibex machines to work north of Selkirk in Breezy Point. In anticipation for river levels almost as high as last year, officials are hoping to prevent flooding before it has an impact on homes near the river bank.
Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick says over $230,000 in additional support has been committed this year for ice-cutting and icebreaking operations.
On Tuesday, the province held a demonstration of the Amphibexes at work, which have been operating since the second week of February.
Warning signs have been placed on the ice to warn people to stay clear. That was the crucial message Minister Melnick wanted to get across Tuesday. The ice isn’t as thick as it was during this time last year. The ice on the Red River ranges from 18 to 28 inches thick, compared to 24 to 36 inches last year. A few kilometres north of Selkirk near Lockport, some ice fishers have already removed their huts from the river, but a few still remain. Nearby, ice-cutting equipment weakens the ice in preparation for the Amphibexes.
The province has budgeted $1 million this year to operate the machinery.