“It’s surreal, like we haven’t woken up from a dream.”
Dave Palmer stood Thursday in a spot he explained “used to be the doorway to the kitchen.”
His house is one of dozens on the Canmore street severely damaged last June in an explosion after a gas line was hit. One house was flattened; others had windows blown out and roofs peeled off.
“It’s especially tough on my wife. She was in the kitchen when the house exploded across the street,” Palmer said. “She’s had some challenges with that.”
The Palmers lost 3,000 personal items. They say asbestos blew in from the exploded home and a lot had to be tossed out.
Their home of 30 years–the place they raised their children and created lifelong memories–had to be demolished, but the foundation is still intact.
Watch below: Global’s past coverage of the June 26 explosion in Canmore
Palmer is anxious to rebuild, but he says the process is moving at a tortoise pace.
“It just takes so long–everything takes so long. They started tearing down before Christmas, and it just finished this week,” he said. “We are looking at another month now just to get permits.”
Six-and-a-half months have passed, and nobody greatly affected in the immediate area has been able to move back in.
“It’s a very slow process,” homeowner Cootchie LeBlanc, who has moved four times since the blast, said. “Others have moved close to seven times, some have stayed in their motor homes.”
Homeowners have written to the town asking for a break on property taxes for the past six months. Mayor John Borrowman said “a report is being written and council will consider it.” But he’s not making any promises.
In the meantime, homeowners say they’ll keep wading through the red tape, hopeful their neighbourhood will one day be full and back to the way it was before the explosion.
© 2016 Shaw Media