Lack of flood assistance for second homes questioned
Alberta government not covering vacation, income properties in relief program right now
As the flood cleanup continues, Albertans with vacation or rental homes are wondering if they'll ever get any help from the government.
The provincial and federal governments are helping homeowners pay for everything from lost furniture and food to cleanup and landscaping — but only for primary residences affected by the flooding.
A big part of Farshad Sepandj’s vacation property in Lac des Arcs, along the Bow River 90 kilometres west of Calgary, was sucked into a sinkhole, including his car and a small cabin.
He said his house, now sitting much closer to the river's edge, might be condemned.
"So, probably more than a third to half an acre, just washed away."
But Sepandj has been denied funding through the disaster assistance program because it’s not his primary home.
"This is the place we foresee as being our retirement and now it's destroyed the way it is," he said.
The lack of assistance for vacation homeowners is going to be a big problem in the mountain town of Canmore, said Mayor John Borrowman.
"About a third of our full population are non-permanent residents, so of course we're very concerned on their behalf," he said.
But Kyle Fawcett, the associate minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction, said the disaster assistance program has a very specific focus.
"This is consistent with all the disaster recovery programs across the country during a disaster. It's the primary residences that are eligible," he said.
However, Fawcett said there could be future discussions about helping homeowners with secondary properties.