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Calgary Electrical Grid Back Up, Amid Demolition Worries

The electrical grid in Calgary was restored to full service on Saturday morning, amid concerns that the city is considering the demolition of up to 100 structures following last week's devastating flooding.

While the grid is functioning again, officials are cautioning that it does not mean everyone will have power. Restoring the grid means everyone has access to power but individual buildings will need to be deemed safe before their electricity is turned on, said Bruce Burrell, director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

"Depending on whether or not your building is dry, pumped out, whether or not your electrical equipment is in shape to be connected to the Enmax system, is what's going to determine now and in future whether or not you get electricity," Burrell said on Saturday.

Residents of the East Village — an area east of the downtown core along the banks of the Bow River where Fort Calgary also sits — are being reminded not to return to their homes because the area has not been cleared for re-occupancy. More than 80 per cent of homes in the area are not in a condition to have power turned back on.

Building assessments are underway as the city works to recover and prepare for next week's Calgary Stampede.

However, inspections of a number of buildings have officials worried they might need to be torn down.

Roughly 100 structures are undergoing final inspections to determine whether they need to be demolished.

That doesn't mean every one of the buildings will be torn down but rather that the city has identified serious problems in them which may require demolition, Burrell said.

"These are going to be very, very deliberate moves that we make," he said, citing the serious impact on businesses facing demolition.

Flood victims can apply for funding

Officials have been cautious in estimating the total number of homes that might be condemned due to flood damage but the serious financial impacts of the flood are becoming clearer for Albertans.

The provincial government moved Saturday to change the Disaster Recovery Program so that flood victims can access recovery money more quickly.

Residents who wish to apply for disaster assistance will not need to wait for their municipalities to apply on their behalf or for property inspections to take place before payments are made — such requirements will be addressed later.

"These changes have shaved weeks off the normal process," said Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver. "We are starting with communities where safe re-entry and rebuilding has begun so they have the money they need to start their recovery."

Disaster financial assistance staff will be in Calgary from July 2 until July 7 to help residents access recovery money.

Staff will be at the McMahon Stadium Red and White Club and the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning. Hours at both locations are 10 a.m. MT to 8 p.m. on July 2 and then 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all other days. Applicants should expect their money within seven to 14 days of applying, officials said.

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