07/03/2013 01:26 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Calgary Can't Handle Flood Bills Alone, Nenshi Says

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the local state of emergency issued for Calgary when floods hit the city June 20 will likely end Thursday.

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A state of emergency means that a municipality can circumvent bylaws, implement lane reversals on roads and spend money without pre-approval by council, and gives the city power to conscript resources as needed.

When explaining what that means, Nenshi used the example of a fence that needs reinforcing.

“We can go to the Home Depot and steal their fence, and use it without asking,” said Nenshi when addressing media last week.

The city says it does not have a timeline for when blue cart recycling services will be restored, but officials are hopeful it will be next week.

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Camps to be built for displaced Calgarians

The province is going to build three camps in the city to provide temporary housing for Calgarians displaced by the flood.

Final details are still being worked out between the city and the province, but it's expected modular homes or trailers will be used.

Bruce Burrell, the head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said the camps will be used for 12 to 18 months.

"Our current estimate is it's going to be somewhere between 550 and 900 people," he said. "We're in conversation with the province about building temporary neighbourhoods within the city of Calgary. We have three locations that are graded and ready to go that were already available sites."

The camps will be about the same size all together as one being built inside Calgary city limits for displaced residents of High River, which will be located in a southeast industrial park.

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Can't handle flood bills alone, Nenshi says

Nenshi says it will be a long road ahead for the city to get the bills paid arising from the flood disaster.

City officials are estimating the preliminary cost of damages from last month's flooding at $256.5 million.

Nenshi said there's no way the city could cover that cost on its own.

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“In reality, these costs really should be borne by the provincial and federal governments. And both of those governments have pledged their assistance,” he said.

“But I do know that there’s a lot of negotiation to be done.”

Damage estimates:

- $50 million for the Calgary Zoo.

- $31 million for the police administration building.

- $26 million to fix the city hall complex.

- $11 million for Calgary Transit facilities.

Condo frustrations

Meanwhile, some people in the Beltline neighbourhood are frustrated with condo owners and associations which have been slow to allow residents back into buildings that were not significantly damaged.

Ald. John Mar said many are still locked out of their units after buildings were evacuated almost two weeks ago.

Mar said city officials cannot force owners to reopen private buildings faster, but he is trying to help.

“We have asked, through the community association and different condo owners, to work with me and their condo associations … to have a meeting to see what else the municipality can do to provide support, or pressure if necessary, on these property managements ... to get the residents back in their homes where they belong.”

Mar said he will set up the meeting later this week.

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