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Peguis First Nation files $1 Billion claim against all levels of government over devastating 2022 flood

Peguis First Nation has filed a $1 Billion claim for flood damages against all levels of government following the devastating spring 2022 flood.

The claim was filed in the Court of King’s Bench against the federal and provincial governments, as well as the Rural Municipalities of Bifrost and Fisher.

“The days of protecting the upstream interest of others, at the expense of Peguis, are over,” Peguis First Nation Chief Stand Bird said in a press release.

This comes almost two years after major flooding devastated the community of about 11,700 people, damaging numerous homes and forcing many people to evacuate their homes. Peguis First Nation officials say approximately 500 homes were affeccted by the flood, and the estimated cost of repairing, replacing, or relocating the homes exceeds $275 million, while the costs of repairing damaged infrastructure and installing permanent flood protection are still being assessed.

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The First Nation says about 549 community members are still unable to return home following the spring 2022 flood. Many of them have been staying in hotels in Winnipeg ever since. Another 235 members also haven’t been able to return to the community after separate flooding events in 2014 and 2017.

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After the 2022 flood, a working group was established between Peguis First Nation, and the provincial and federal governments to create permanent solutions for flood mitigation and protection. The First Nation says no solutions have been implemented by either level of government.

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Peguis, located about 196 kilometres north of Winnipeg, has suffered an average of one flood every two years, according to the press release. First Nation officials say land use changes in the RM of Fisher saw forestland converted into farmland between 1966 and 2021, resulting in wetlands being drained. Peguis, downstream of the municipality, says the land use changes have caused a 30 per cent rise in flood peaks in the community.

“By acknowledging the root causes of the flooding we can repair the damage and prevent further disasters,” Chief Bird stated in the news release.

“This legal action is to align governments with their responsibilities, and enforce the promises made to Peguis over the years.”

Global News has reached out to the provincial and federal governments for comment.


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