Flooded Canmore residents seek answers on rebuilding
Owners told recovery program won't pay to restore yards along Cougar Creek
A public meeting in Canmore Monday night drew dozens of people looking to know more about the Alberta government's plans to help rebuild the flood-damaged community.
Property owner John Koch wants to rebuild in the flood-fringe zone, but he’s not sure how to proceed since the standards for flood mitigation haven't been set.
"I would suspect thousands and thousands of people who are debating what to do with their house. But they don't know whether to start rebuilding or what they should do because the rules are undefined," he said.
Provincial officials at the meeting were clear on one point — the disaster recovery program will not cover the cost of restoring yards swept away from homes along Cougar Creek.
But Banff-Cochrane MLA Ron Casey said that doesn’t mean nothing will be done.
"The province currently is working with the municipality to try to come up with a long-term mitigation plan for Cougar Creek and that’s going to take some time," he said.
Canmore resident Benny Ryan said he believes some people are simply expecting too much.
'A lot of doubt'
"I think there's just a lot of doubt. People aren't sure how much money they're going to get from the government, and some people think they're going to get fully covered for everything, and that's not going to happen," he said.
Orian Low is coming to terms with losing his secondary residence in the hamlet of Benchlands, east of Canmore — a property that was to be his $600,000 retirement nest egg.
"Not aware of any program that would help either to compensate for the loss of the house or for the loss of the property because now I can't sell the house, and I can't sell the property because there's nothing left of it," he said.
According to Canmore contractor Benny Ryan, another worry for residents of the mountain town is price gouging.
Some companies that have come in from other cities and provinces are charging two to three times the usual rates, he said.
"A lot of these companies are going to get ... rich off of this whole disaster and that's the saddest part of this whole thing," he said.
Town and provincial official have asked people to report inflated prices to Service Alberta.