Manitoba inventor of sandbagging machine loses out on chance at `Dragons Den

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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WINNIPEG - It may have been the verbal equivalent of sand thrown in his face.
Manitoba inventor Guy Bergeron, creator of the flood-fighting tool called the Sandbagger, has lost out on a chance to compete on CBC's reality show "Dragon's Den."
Bergeron, 79, recently asked the province if he could borrow back one of his sandbagging machines in order to present it on the show, where budding entrepreneurs get to pitch their business ideas to five wealthy patrons who may give them development funding.
Bergeron was disappointed that it took the province three weeks to give him a decision, and then the answer was "no."
"I don't feel too good about it," said Bergeron, who lives in Elie, Man.
He noted the producers of "Dragon's Den" invited him to participate and offered to pay for the shipping of the machine to Toronto.
"We were going to pay for insurance, and make sure everything is done OK," said the inventor, who developed the massive sandbag-filling machine in the early 1990s.
"It would certainly have been nice if we could have gotten an answer within a couple of days."
Despite the machine being his creation, Bergeron had no Sandbaggers on hand at his home when the CBC extended the invitation.
At the legislature, Conservative member Mavis Taillieu raised the issue in the house, and pointed out the inventor's work this spring in monitoring all Manitoba sites where several of the machines were used in fighting floods.
Taillieu said the Sandbagger - sometimes referred to as the "octopus" and "spider" due to its appearance in filling sacks simultaneously - has been used from Fargo, N.D., to Australia.
"A little more respect could have been shown," Taillieu said. "If they had put their minds to it, they could have found a way to work this out.
"It was an opportunity missed, here, to showcase a made-in-Manitoba success story."
Steve Ashton, minister responsible for emergency measures, said he's "sure we could look into this" and later told reporters he's "not going to second-guess" the decisions made by bureaucrats in the infrastructure or water stewardship departments.

Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Manitoba, WINNIPEG, Elie Toronto Fargo, N.D. Australia

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