Government Turns Its Back on Storm-Damaged KOA
Following a washout of his previous business season, the owner of a flood-ravaged campground west of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is struggling to make his operation float.
The West Winnipeg KOA site, just outside the city in the St. Francois Xavier area, is looking for ways to get up and running for the spring and summer while still devastated by water that had poured over it from the swollen Assiniboine River during widespread flooding a year ago, the Winnipeg Sun reported.
With only five of his 95 campsites operational, owner Has Koria said Saturday that he’s going to a bank for help after his requests for financial aid from the provincial government and the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization were turned down.
“I’ve got nothing at all,” said Koria, who also operates a gas station and convenience store as part of the business on Trans Canada Highway 1 10 miles west of Winnipeg. “I have lost over $90,000 in revenue alone. The whole campground was shut down last year, for the whole season. The water didn’t leave for four months.”
The proprietor said he’s faced with a cost of about $300,000 to repair and clean his grounds in time to open enough of his park to salvage the business season ahead. He said “virtually everything” is destroyed because of the three to seven feet of water that had covered the wooded campground — turning it into a lake where a utility building containing a tractor was submerged nearly to its roof, and picnic tables were tied down after several of them floated away.
Mounds of silt and a wrecked electrical system are among the damage left behind.
“The grass is gone. The trees are dying. The road, the infrastructure, the site will have to be redone. There are about 60 loads of mud that was scraped from the campground, and that’s all piled up,” Koria said. “The dike is gone. You can see where it’s been eroded.”
Neither NDP government spokespeople nor Conservative MLA Mavis Taillieu who represents the area in her Morris riding, could be reached for comment.
Koria said emergency measures officials have denied his applications for cash help because he’s slightly above a sales threshold that marks eligibility for assistance.
Without the campground, he suggested, the gas station would barely be viable and the entire site worth little to prospective purchasers. He’s looking to a bank loan as the only way to get his business back on solid ground.
“I’m really stuck,” he said. “We don’t have a choice but to borrow money and do what we can, and hope we can get the business back.”