Albertans whose homes were badly damaged by June's floods, but don't live in the province's floodway, might possibly get the buyout they've been asking for.
Just one day after announcing the government would offer buyouts for 254 homes on Alberta floodways, Premier Alison Redford told CBC news they're aren't ruling out a similar option for some residents living in flood fringes and other areas.
Redford made the comments Friday while touring Medicine Hat, saying that should such offers be made they would be done "on a case-by-case basis."
The news would particularly benefit residents of High River's Hampton Hills -- one of the hardest hit communities that doesn't lie within the province's defined floodways.
"Now there's also very good work through the disaster recovery program that the community of Hampton Hills is doing ... and again there are a number of very particular circumstances related to each of those houses," Redford told CBC.
Her comments came one day after the government announced it was willing to purchase hundreds of floodway homes in Calgary, Medicine Hat, High River and Bragg Creek.
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Even if the houses weren't damaged, owners are eligible for a buyout worth the tax-assessed value of their home.
"We know that floodway development is dangerous. Development in these areas puts lives at risk and is an ongoing risk to taxpayers as well," Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths told The Canadian Press Thursday.
"I've equated it many times to building on the train tracks. This new policy will allow Albertans in the impacted floodways another option to rebuild their lives and will provide protection for all Albertans going forward."
The cost of the program could run as high as $175 million -- an average of about $690,000 per home, reports The Globe and Mail.
Any home bought out by the government would likely be destroyed or sold and moved away from the flood area, said Griffiths.
However, homeowners do not have to take the deal and will still be eligible for funding to rebuild or repair their homes, but will not qualify for future funding if another flood strikes.
Some floodway homeowners say the buyouts aren't needed, claiming their homes only took on a small amount of water, reports CTV Calgary.
High River resident Adam Vyse, whose home was damaged but not destroyed, told CTV he would like to see more money spent on flood mitigation.
“We’re not looking to relocate. This is a substantial amount of money that they are talking about which probably, based on the numbers we’ve been given in the past, would go a long way towards some of the more expensive options that we were told, five years ago or more. It would prevent this kind of thing from happening again,” he said.
Cody Weiss, whose Medicine Hat home has flooded three times in recent years despite not lying in either the floodway or flood fringe, told CBC he thinks the province should base buyout packages not on floodway maps, but on the home's damage assessment.