High River residents rally for more flood compensation
Homes sacrificed to save other parts of the southern Alberta town, say Hampton Hills residents
Hampton Hills residents gathered outside of Premier Alison Redford's Calgary office to ask for more compensation, saying their neighbourhood was sacrificed to save other parts of High River.
The area was one of the hardest hit when floodwaters struck the southern Alberta town in June, and many homes remained under water for weeks — causing other issues like mould.
Demonstrators said a temporary berm protected many houses when the flooding hit but it meant their homes were destroyed.
"Personally, it's an honour to sacrifice my home for the fellow good of the town and the neighbours of High River," said resident Greg Tymchyna.
"It's just now, with any sacrifice, there's got to be some compensation that goes along with."
Tymchyna expects to receive upwards of $400,000 from the province to rebuild his home, but he says it's still approximately $10,000 less than the tax assessed value and it will take more than a year to rebuild.
He's also concerned the environment could now be harmful for his family.
"Nowhere are they saying they're going to worry about the backyard, the environment, the air quality, the soil quality," he said.
"I've got four young kids. I need someone to give me some guarantees that they're not going to get some terminal illness in the next five years."
Protest organizer Sarah Bruinsma said she also doesn't like the new compensation package announced yesterday.
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She said her home's value was assessed at $373,000 and offering her a basic home will not be enough. Bruinsma wants the province to buy her out so she can relocate.
Not an insurance company, says province
But not everyone agreed with the protesters.
"I have to pay for your mortgage?" Greg Budd yelled as he passed the demonstrators.
"I think they're a bunch of whining elitists. They're getting upwards of $300,000 and that's not good enough. They're being given trailers to live in in the interim and that's not good enough."
Meanwhile the province says it sympathizes with homeowners, but insists Alberta's disaster relief program should not be mistaken for an insurance company.
"I know it's not ideal, and it's not the perfect situation for them, but it does get them back in to their homes and back to a basic level," said MLA Rick Fraser, the minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction for the High River region.
The province promises cases will be assessed on an individual basis.