High River's flood evacuee complex Saddlebrook to close
Some residents whose homes still aren't ready are moving into government-owned apartments in town
The last flood victims living in the temporary community of Saddlebrook north of High River are moving out.
The government is shutting down the trailer complex that was home to hundreds of people whose homes in the town south of Calgary were destroyed or damaged in last year’s flood.
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The collection of 215 trailers was built by the province to house up to 1,200 people.
Some residents say it's a step forward but they still face challenges.
Jerry Shiel says he is grateful to have been allowed to live at Saddlebrook, but after a year of dorm-room living he's thrilled to be moving to his own apartment.
The building in High River is owned by the provincial government. Unlike at Saddlebrook, Shiel and the others will pay rent and buy their own food.
“I haven't purchased an apple or a banana in a year. So it's going to be a culture shock going into those grocery stores.”
David Abma said for him it’s one step closer to normalcy.
“Natural living, it's our own place, our own stove, it's our own living. So in that case it's good. But it's bittersweet in that our hope was that by the time we left Saddlebrook, the next move would be into our home," he said.
Abma said he is hopeful his family’s home will be rebuilt by spring. Shiel said he expects his will take another year.
The final residents have to be out of Saddlebrook by Aug. 22.
A similar facility in southeast Calgary, the Great Plains flood camp, closed at the beginning of this year. It was built for 700 evacuees, but only about 70 ever moved in.