Wayne's World - Extreme conditions prevail PDF Print
Local Content - Opinions
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Monday, 09 August 2010 21:53

By: Wayne Litke

I was having difficulty trying to focus on a subject this week with so much happening. Local crime, disasters and extremes in weather have captivated my thoughts as the week played out.
I was aghast when I heard Russia had banned wheat exports. Prolonged dry and hot weather has created conditions that are allowing fires to ravage the countryside and create suffocating smoke that is making the simple act of breathing dangerous. The terrible conditions have caused the price of wheat to jump significantly which is welcomed by Canadian producers, many of which had seen seeding delayed or postponed until next year due to unbelievably wet conditions in Saskatchewan.
Local farmers who were fortunate enough to get their crops in are now praying hail will not destroy what may be their best crop in many years. Everyone, including insurance agencies, is hoping  a devastating storm that flattened crops from Golden Prairie to Lac Pelletier will be the exception. Insurance rates will undoubtedly increase next year as SGI and the Province of Saskatchewan is paying out unprecedented sums for damage caused by violent storms across Saskatchewan. Now, lightning and fire damage can be added to the list of phenomena that have taken a toll on local residents. I know it happens every year, but it seems worse in a year such as 2010 when Mother Nature unleashed her fury in a way few residents could imagine. Meanwhile, the clean-up in and around Maple Creek continues to be agonizing for residents who wait for structural engineers and trades people. It is a slow process that is wearing down people and taking an emotional toll.
As for cattlemen, there is more hay in the Southwest than we have seen in several years, but the trick is getting it baled. Intermittent and spontaneous rainfall has made haying extremely difficult this year. It appears that putting up hay that has not been rained on at least once is a rarity. Of course, with the blessing of plenty of hay comes the reassurance that the price will be low unless there is an extreme shortage somewhere, perhaps Russia?
By the way, what has happened to Mayor Barry Rudd’s request to have a watershed study conducted as soon as possible? I read about progress regarding planning of our integrated health facility, but what about the flood potential that exists with the proposed location? In light of what has occurred and the desire to get the project rolling, a study and subsequent action is needed immediately–not next year.
Readers will remember journalism student Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad who was a hard-working intern at the News-Times. Her husband, Cliff, recently contacted my wife and forwarded an interesting idea. He works at the Air Force base at Cold Lake and explained how the military will sometimes provide assistance during an emergency. The military has engineers and personnel who specialize in the repair and construction of roads and bridges, a service that is certainly needed in this area after many roads and bridges were damaged by the June flood.
There is a catch, the military personnel have to be available, a state of emergency must exist, and I believe the province must make the request for assistance. As far as I know, the information Cliff forwarded was passed on to the municipal and provincial authorities for consideration.
As if Maple Creek hasn’t suffered enough, a structural fire on Sunday is believed to have destroyed all the belongings of the renter. Also destroyed were possessions of the renter’s mother which were placed in the house for safe-keeping after her house sustained flood damage.
It seems like the battle to rebuild our flood-damaged town is taking a new form. The attack is no longer strictly focused on the physical realm as flood waters have receded and rebuilding is under way. In the aftermath, residents continue to deal with psychological stress and trauma that is slowly and surely wearing them down, and it is worse for those who do not have the strength or resources to stay the course. I hope all possible action possible will be taken to rebuild lives and prevent such a flood from reoccurring.

 
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