High River flood victims say premier’s visit is too little, too late

CALGARY- Some residents of one of the hardest-hit communities during Alberta’s 2013 flood say Premier Jim Prentice’s pledge to help more with recovery efforts has come too late.

Prentice visited the town of High River over the weekend and announced the province will expedite the distribution of $20 million in immediate assistance for those still working to repair the homes following the disaster.

One former resident of the hard-hit community of Hampton Hills said despite remediation work on his home he has since been forced to move.

“The mold came back with a vengeance,” said Briand Crundwell, who now lives in a different neighbourhood. “We’d done everything right. The house was cleaned by Tervita, we did what AHS recommended… re-insulated, dehumidified at considerable expense and we lost the battle.”

Crundwell moved into the doomed custom-built home just 28 hours before the flood hit. He says the cost of rebuilding didn’t make financial sense and is now responsible for selling his own vacant lot, a challenge he says a growing number of homeowners in Hampton Hills are facing.

Story continues below advertisement

“I see a tragedy,” said Don Sandford of Lansdowne Equity Ventures. “I see something that’s taken far too long to get resolved. I see people here that have been hurt financially… emotionally. I see all kinds of financial issues driving development in reverse.”

While some remain hopeful the community will eventually bounce back, some residents are no closer to moving home than they were 18 months ago.

“I consistently find the remediation only partially done and then the all-clear was given to people that yes they can carry on with their life,” said Nick Michalezki, an air technician with Rocky Mountain Inspection. “Now they’re finding out that their life is back to where it was at the day of the flood.”