Flood Protection

Calgary man wants to build home on stilts

A Calgary man says he has come up with a great way to protect homes from future flood damage — but he's having a hard time getting provincial approval.

Jerry Schwartz is looking for provincial approval for his plan

A Calgary man is waiting to hear from the province about his proposal to build this raised house on his lot on Riverdale Avenue S.W. (Jerry Schwartz)

A Calgary man says he has come up with a great way to protect homes from future flood damage — but he's having a hard time getting provincial approval.

Jerry Schwartz lives at the end of Riverdale Avenue southwest along the Elbow River.

Jerry Schwartz wants to build his home on stilts to protect it from future floodwaters. (CBC)

He is hoping to sell a large chunk of his 19,000 square foot property to the province and use that money to rebuild his home on stilts.

“You know what? I'm an engineer,” he said.

"It makes sense to me, it’s the right thing to do in these neighbourhooods."

Schwartz says he has spent his life solving problems, and says this is no different

Schwartz and local designer and builder Kishan Gajjar spent months researching homes on stilts and meeting with municipal and provincial officials

Gajjar says the idea isn't new — just new to Calgary

"I moved here 14 years ago and I'd never seen a basement before, but do you really need a basement, especially on a lot like this?” said Gajjar.

Schwartz says the province would rather buy all of the property for $3 million, but he says that goes against what the provincial government said during its flood symposiums.

“Alison Redford stood up and said we want responses from Albertans, we want Albertans who are really good, bright people to give us innovative ideas. Well, you know what? Nobody I've talked to says it’s not a good idea, and many people have said it’s a great idea and yet I am kind of nowhere with it.”

Schwartz says city officials have given him the approval in principal to build the home.

At 83, he says doesn't have a lot of time to wait, and he is hoping for a decision from the province soon.

Jerry Schwartz's house on Riverdale Avenue S.W. was inundated last June by the flooding Elbow River. (Metro News)

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