07/31/2013 09:54 EDT | Updated 09/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Saying part of High River sacrificed gets contractor scolded

The engineer who told High River residents that the Hampton Hills community was sacrificed to minimize flooding in the rest of the town used an unfortunate choice of words, associate minister Rick Fraser says.

Fraser, the minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction for the High River region, was reacting to video obtained by CBC News on Tuesday.

The video shows Darwin Durnie — who was hired by the province to manage the flood emergency in High River — explaining to residents of Hampton Hills that their homes were allowed to flood as part of a larger plan to channel water out of the town with the help of two hastily built berms.

The proximity of Hampton Hills to the Little Bow River diversion canal put the neighbourhood in harm’s way despite it being on relatively high ground.

But Fraser criticized the version of events Durnie outlined to homeowners at the private, secretly videotaped meeting last Friday.

“Those words do not reflect the government’s views,” Fraser said in a written release late Tuesday.

“The people of Hampton Hills need to know that we’re here for them and will continue to stand with them as they seek to restore their lives.”

Fraser said he was pleased to hear that two thirds of Hampton Hills residents are back home.