Figures obtained by CBC News show the Alberta government paid $84 million to buy out the owners of flood-damaged homes across the province, and 39 per cent of the money was spent on 16 properties in Calgary.

Documents recently obtained by CBC News from Alberta Infrastructure showed the province had spent $79 million on flood buyouts across the province as of Sept. 12, with 42 per cent of the money being spent on 16 properties in Calgary.

However, updated numbers on Tuesday afternoon show that number had increased to $84 million, which changes the percentage of the money spent on the Calgary homes from 42 to 39, as of Oct. 3.

The additional money spent on buyouts since Sept. 12 went to homeowners not living in Calgary.

The government spent $46 million in total to buy 16 Calgary homes. By comparison it paid $17 million for 32 houses in High River. 

Roughly $33 million out of $46 million spent in Calgary went to 11 homes on two streets adjacent to the Elbow River — Roxboro Road and Riverdale Avenue S.W.

Deadline looming

That number could still grow as the deadline for homeowners who have already applied to decide on taking a government buyout is Nov. 30. 

Janet Mcmahen — who lives right beside Roxboro Road, a street that’s now a patchwork of empty homes and houses where residents chose to stay — says the plan was a mistake.

Calgary house buyouts:

  • 6 houses on Roxboro Road = $16.77 million
  • 5 houses on Riverdale Avenue = $16.28 million
  • 1 house on Rideau Road = $2.45 million
  • 1 house on Sifton Boulevard = $2.23 million
  • 3 houses on 40th Avenue = $8.36 million  

“I think that’s a lot of money. I think that’s a lot of money that could have been used differently,” she said. 

"So we get to just wait and don’t really know what's happening, we get to worry about squatters in these houses, we get to wonder about when they're going to come down and the waste."

The province plans to return the lots it purchased to their natural state. Demolition of the empty houses is set to start by early spring.

But realtor Gary Cronin, who lives in the area, doesn’t see the point.

"It was a flawed knee-jerk policy, and doesn't really help any of the flooding that could occur again,” he said.

“The priority should have always been from day one to do upstream mitigation."