Some Sydney homeowners hit hardest in the Thanksgiving Day flood are unhappy with compensation offered by the Nova Scotia government.

Emergency Measures Office officials have begun meeting with the 18 homeowners in Sydney whose houses had been issued "no-occupancy" orders.

Tom MacNeil, whose home was under four metres of water on Thanksgiving, said he believes the offer made by the province to buy his property is too low.

He said his tax assessment is $193,600 and was surprised when EMO instead offered him $171,000 in compensation.

Sydney Flood

Floodwaters nearly reached the eaves of this Sydney home. (CBC)

"Why is it acceptable when they are taking our money, that they will give a higher evaluation and when they are giving their money, they are giving a lower evaluation?"

The government is offering to buy the 18 homes. If the homeowner agrees to the sale, the province has said it will then demolish the residence and clean up contaminants on the property such as oil.

Doesn't 'scratch the surface'

Flood victim Robin Nathanson was also upset after meeting with an EMO official.

"We weren't given very good news," he said.

The contents of his home were evaluated at $16,200.

"That barely even begins to scratch the surface," he said.

Option to get second opinion

But Zach Churchill, the minister responsible for EMO, told CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning that the relief program has limits.

For example, he said, it wouldn't replace "high-end" appliances.

"[The compensation] would provide the appliance, but probably a more basic model."

If homeowners are unhappy with their appraisals, they have the option to get a second one at the province's expense, he said.

MacNeil said he is getting a second appraisal.