Michele Edwards never expected to become a victim of the devastating 2013 flooding in southern Alberta without experiencing it firsthand, but says three years after the disaster, she is dealing with the aftermath.
“It’s been just a traumatizing experience.”
Edwards purchased a starter home in High River a few months ago, but she and her three sons have yet to spend a single night in their bedrooms. After doing some minor renovations she literally uncovered the one thing she dreaded — black mould.
“At first I was panicked but thought, ‘it’s one wall, I can handle this,’” the single mother recalled. “But that was the tip of the iceberg.”
She started peeling back the layers and uncovered more black mould, flood silt underneath the carpets and even flood mud inside the walls. She’s now struggling to find the tens of thousands of dollars she needs to repair and re-mediate her home and has launched a fundraiser.
Edwards insists it was never disclosed to her how badly damaged the bottom two levels of the home were.
“I was told there were four inches of sewer backup and no overland flooding,” Edwards said. “But it was actually 18 inches not four, as I had been led to believe.”
Edwards had a home inspection. The firm representing both realtors insist there was no evidence of mould or any damage. They said they tried to make it right, but with the costs escalating, no compromise could be reached.
Edwards was disappointed.
“I trusted the town and the people here and I believed in this town. I guess my trust has been destroyed in many ways.”
Until she can move in, Edwards and her kids continue to live out of a suitcase in her mom’s home.
Everything she owns remains in the High River home in a 10 x 20-foot storage unit.
“I feel trapped and alone.”
Edwards doesn’t qualify for the provincial disaster recovery program because she wasn’t the homeowner at the time of the 2013 floods, and insurance won’t cover it because the damage is considered a pre-existing condition.
Edwards hopes her story is a cautionary tale to future homeowners.
“This has been one of the worst experiences of my life and I don’t think anybody should have to go through this.”