Great Plains temporary housing for flood victims to close

The province is aiming to close the temporary Great Plains community set up in southeast Calgary for flood victims within the next 30 to 60 days.

Province will also look to wind down Saddlebrook in High River as demand for housing diminishes

The community of Great Plains was able to accommodate hundreds of flood victims in trailers at 58th Street and 68th Avenue S.E. (CBC)

The province is aiming to close the temporary Great Plains community set up in southeast Calgary for flood victims within the next 30 to 60 days.

The neighbourhood was built to take in Albertans who were left without homes after floodwaters hit several communities in the area last June.

A municipal affairs spokesperson says there's no firm timeline for the closure, but it's looking to wind down both Great Plains and Saddlebrook in High River as demand has fallen off.

"That 30 to 60 days is a time frame we're aiming for but it's not a hard and fast deadline," said Trisha Anderson. "We won't be putting anyone on the street."

Roughly 45 flood victims are currently living in Great Plains. 

"It's me and my wife and our four kids and we were just told today that they're decommissioning the camp and shutting it down," said Greg Tymchyna.

"Shocked — still shocked. You know, we're just figuring out what's next."

Tymchyna said after the floods he lost his job in High River, but found work in Calgary.

"The kids are registered for dance, skating, Girl Guides and Beavers," he said.

'Where are we supposed to go?'

The family's flood-damaged home has to be torn down and rebuilt and they say it's not anywhere close to being done six months after the floods hit.

"What are we supposed to do, where are we supposed to go? ... They're pushing us out. We have nothing left. We lost everything in the flood. We had nothing left. Now they're telling us it's gone."

Tymchyna said he doesn't understand why the province would put so much money into a community just to pull it away a few months later.

"The amount of money they used to build this thing, you know. They put a park in, all the power lines, all the power poles, we're still running on generators ... they planted trees, the amount of landscaping alone," he said.

"We've moved ... six times since the flood hit," he added. "We don't want to move any more." 

Dale Smith was in a hotel for three and a half months before moving to Great Plains.

"People have to go somewhere and I understand," he said. "You know, a lot of these units aren't even full, but it's costing the Alberta taxpayers lots of money and people don't like to see that. And it's really unfortunate, but a lot of people lost a lot of money too." 

The province plans to work with the Calgary Housing Company to find them all new places to stay.

"Staff have been meeting with the households to determine what their housing needs are," said Anderson.


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