Manitoba government considers selling its flood-fighting ice-breaking machines

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is considering selling off its Amphibex ice-breaking machines that help prevent ice jams and floods on the Red River north of Winnipeg.

The province owns three of the machines and has them run by a corporation set up by three municipalities, under a contract that costs more than $1 million a year.

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Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler says the government is simply seeing if a better deal is available on the open market.

He says the aim is to get the best service contract possible, and that contract could involve someone leasing or buying the Amphibexes outright.

The Opposition New Democrats say they are worried privately-owned Amphibexes might not be available when they are needed during spring flood season.

Schuler says if the Amphibexes are sold, the new contractor would be legally required to have them ready and available when needed.

The Amphibexes are a kind of excavator that can work on land or water. They are used to break up ice along rivers in order to prevent water from backing up and flooding nearby land.

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