Flood rebuilding rules confusing, says Calgary homeowner

A Calgary flood victim says the city's rules about what is required for the repairs to his home are not clear.

Calgary flood victim facing permit issues over basement renovation

A Bowness resident walks through his neighbourhood of flooded homes after thousands of Calgarians were forced out of the neighbourhood last June. Many homeowners in the area now say finding out details about the current rebuilding rules is not an easy task. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

A Calgary flood victim says the city's rules about what is required for the repairs to his home are not clear.

Dean Meyers says the basement walls and foundation were ripped apart in his home on Bowwater Crescent in Bowness during last year's flood.

Meyers says he decided to move his furnace and hot water tank upstairs but has hit a road block.

"These are things that the building inspector at the time said are probably going to become code in flood areas, but it's not code yet and in fact I'm having a very hard time getting that passed."

Building codes in flood hazard areas have not changed since the disaster.

The city did change a bylaw that requires new homes in floodways to have the main floor, and the electrical and mechanical services, located above the designated flood level.

"At this point in time, they're not there but they should be or could be in the upcoming code cycles and I'm encouraged because it is being talked about at a national level," said Kevin Griffiths, the director of inspections and permits services for the City of Calgary.

Improvements necessary

Homeowner Jason Switzer, who lives near the Elbow River, says he has made improvements to his basement.

"We have a trench that runs along the inside of the basement that collects any water that might come in through the walls."

He doesn't think homeowners in flood damaged areas have much of a choice.

"The decisions we made were the ones anybody would make if they wanted to be able to pass their house onto a buyer in the future," said Switzer.

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