ALBERTA

High River Flood Victims Want A Buyout From Province

07/29/2013 03:32 EDT | Updated 07/29/2013 03:33 EDT
CP

High River residents frustrated at the lack of information about remediation in the flood-ravaged town are now calling for the government to buyout their irreparable homes.

It's been more than a month since flood waters devastated High River and home owners hit worst by the flooding want a buyout.

Approximately 350 High River homes have been listed as uninhabitable, reports Sun News, and another 100 deemed structurally unsound and will likely have to be demolished.

Some homes in the Hampton Hills neighbourhood sat underwater for three weeks and their owners want the government to give them the option to leave completely.

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High River Residents Return

“Many in that neighbourhood want the option to move,” Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith told CTV Calgary.

“I think these communities need to be bought out if there’s the belief that the house can’t be remediated.”

At a community meeting this weekend hosted by Smith, who also serves as Highwood MLA, many displaced residents expressed their frustration over what they say is a lack of information around which houses will be reclaimed and which will be rebuilt.

"I wasn't told anything, just that I had to drop everything and leave," High River resident Kelly Janzen told the Calgary Herald about his home, which took on almost a metre of water on the main floor.

"They boarded up my garage and it's sitting there."

Glenys Russell, whose basement took on almost three metres of water, told the Calgary Sun the government's communication has been "horrible" so far and now she wants some clear answers.

“I’m back there doing stuff and I want to know if I’m cleaning my house am I at risk? A year from now, am I going to grow a third arm? These are pretty fair questions to ask and people with little kids have even more reason to be asking these questions," she said.

A $45-million contract was awarded to Tervita Corp. last week for cleanup and recovery in High River and MLA Rick Fraser, minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction for the High River region, said the province is moving as fast as it can.

“I was in the Hamptons (Friday) and went through a home and I can completely understand people’s concern,” he told the Sun.

“But the opportunity is there for (residents) to have their homes remediated and to have any mold remediated and taken out and of course they’ll have to meet provincial standards through Alberta Health Services.”

Samantha Woodland told CTV News she's not interested in remediation at this point she would rather leave her house and move on.

“This community is destroyed and being left to remediate is just a pill I’m not ready to swallow,” she said.

According to CBC News, the company that developed the neighbourhood would like to see the province mitigate the area so that a similar disaster doesn’t happen again.

“We are not very happy, as you are, with having invested the amount of money here we have … to find that we have a flood that none of us could have imagined,” Don Sanford, president of Landsdowne Equity Ventures Ltd., told meeting attendees Saturday.