The people of Canmore want answers.
A public meeting regarding recent flooding in the quiet mountain town drew dozens of people Monday night, hoping to express their frustrations with the province.
Dozens of properties along Cougar Creek in Canmore were damaged or destroyed after rainwater turned the small waterway into a raging torrent on June 19 and 20.
More than 100 homes in Exshaw and Lac Des Arcs were also damaged.
The province has yet to set the standards for flood mitigation, leaving many residents unsure how to proceed.
“So there's potentially, I would suspect, thousands and thousands of people who are debating what to do with their house. But they don't know whether to start rebuilding or what they should do because the rules are undefined,” Canmore resident John Koch told the CBC.
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According to the Calgary Herald, officials with the province have told Canmore property owners – many of them vacation property owners – that the government's disaster recovery program will not cover compensation for vacation homes. The program only covers primary residences at the cost of an average home in the community.
“The policy put in place by the government is basically BS,” resident Benny Ryan told the Herald, adding the program punishes people with expensive or second homes.
“I think there's just a lot of doubt people aren't sure how much money they're going to get from the government. And some people think they're going to get fully covered for everything, and that's not going to happen,” CBC News reports Ryan as saying.
Kyle Fawcett, associate minister of recovery and reconstruction for southwest Alberta, told the Herald primary residences will account for most of the flood compensation.
“The challenge that we have ... is that there is significant damage,” he said. “We’ve got to try to rebuild our communities within the financial capabilities that we have.”
The province has still not provided any answers about how existing homes along Cougar Creek will be addressed after many lost backyards and structural stability to significant erosion, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Fawcett told the Herald those homes fall under "unique circumstances" and will be addressed over time.
MLA Ron Casey told the Rocky Mountain Outlook the province understands people feel an urgency for details at this point for rebuilding, “but right now, there may not be all the answers everyone needs to make the right choices.”
“The one thing they are making very clear is that this is a community by community program, so in other words it isn’t one size fits all. So what occurs in Canmore may not be the same solution as High River or Bragg Creek or somewhere else."