Flood victims in ‘forgotten community’ say they’re being overlooked
CALGARY- They call themselves the forgotten community. Neglected, ignored and invisible.
Ever since the devastating June flood hit High River, they’ve watched the cleanup around them—but residents in the community of Sunrise have been overlooked.
In one seniors complex, collective insurance has partially covered flood damage, but it’s not nearly enough to complete the repairs, or cover what owners have paid for their homes.
“With insurance, people will go away owing more money then they’ll get for insurance,” says resident Lydia Labre. “We still have to remediate these, you cannot walk away from a building in this condition.”
Since there is some money from insurance, the province says they can’t help.
“We just wanna come home, they’re playing with our minds,” complains displaced resident Ronnie Green. “Nobody is taking any notice. There are 60 of us here, and we feel we cannot get on with it.”
The homes still have not been remediated or assessed, and look identical today as they did on the day the flood hit. Residents have tried to get the government-contracted company Tervita to help, but as the homes are considered unfit to enter no one will go inside.
“Insurance has said ‘leave it’, as if they don’t want to damage them, then bang, we have been locked out and haven’t been allowed back in,” explains Margaret Hodges.
Making the situation even more critical is that condo bylaws state a decision about whether they will repair or tear down the building has to be made within 100 days—a date that is less than two weeks away.
“How can we decide whether or not we can financially or physically do this? ” says resident Diane Randle. “It’s a ticking time bomb right now.”
Many of the seniors in the 27 unit complex purchased their homes with retirement savings.