'We feel like we've been forgotten': Foothills residents remain in limbo 4 years after devastating flood
Julie Alm and husband Mark Shearer lost their home near Aldersyde and haven't lived there since
Nearly four years after the devastating floods of 2013, some landowners in the Municipal District of Foothills in southern Alberta say they're still awaiting provincial financial help so they can move on with life.
Julie Alm and her husband, Mark Shearer, haven't be able to live on their 16-acre property south of Aldersyde — downstream from High River — since their house had to be demolished after the flood.
"We feel like we've been forgotten," said Alm. "We want people to know that we're still here, that the flood of 2013 is not over yet. We're still here waiting."
Landowners like Alm originally thought nearby flood mitigation would result in less water in their neighbourhoods in the event of a similar flood.
Turns out, those changes will actually force significantly more water their way.
"They mitigated to save the town of High River, which put us in harm's way," said Alm. "So it kinda feels a little bit like we got thrown under the bus."
The MD of Foothills submitted a proposal to the province last fall offering to administer a program that would provide buyouts or offer flood protection to dozens of landowners along the Highwood and Little Bow rivers.
Harry Riva-Cambrin, chief administrative officer for the MD of Foothills, says the cost to the province would top out at $54 million.
"It's a matter of them determining whether they can fund this and to what level and whether they're willing to fund it," he said. "I don't believe they've answered that question yet."
In a statement, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Environment and Parks said the province continues to invest in flood mitigation projects, including $63 million in the 2017 budget, on top of $160 million spent since 2015.
"The MD of Foothills has received over $26 million in funding since the 2013 floods, some of which was used to buy out vulnerable properties," it reads.
Alberta Environment says it is considering the plan and staff will meet with MD of Foothills officials in the next few weeks.
With files from Jennifer Lee