High River wants to buy flood homes back from the province

High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass says two clusters of homes sold to the province are still standing, and they aren't at risk of flooding.

Homes were bought and slated for demolition as part of flood mitigation work

A map shows in green where two groups of home sit that the town wants to buy back from the province. (Town of High River)

The Town of High River is asking the provincial government to sell them back homes that were bought by the province and slated for demolition as a part of flood mitigation.

High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass says two clusters of homes sold to the province are still standing.

And he says they aren't at risk of flooding.

"They were minimally affected by the flood," he said. "Lots of them still had cobwebs and there's sump pumps, where across the street [there was] five to eight feet of water in their basements."

More than $100 million worth of berms, dikes and floodgates have been built to protect against a repeat of the 2013 floods. Another berm is in the approval stage and is due to be built next year, with a temporary berm in place until that happens.

Thousands of homes were damaged in the 2013 flood. (William Rader)

High River was inundated when the Highwood River overran its banks in June 2013, part of flooding seen across southern Alberta. Three lives were lost, about 13,000 people were forced from their homes and thousands of residences were damaged.

Snodgrass says the homes in question are situated on higher ground, and it's only because of lines on the map that they were slated for demolition.

He said he has sent several letters to the province, the most recent on Dec. 9.

Snodgrass is asking they allow the town to buy the homes back.

In an email, the province says they're working on flood mapping and supporting mitigation plans.

Officials say it will be up to experts to determine if the homes are in a safe enough space to be bought back.

With files from Lucie Edwardson


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