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WATCH: Mike Holmes lends voice to help High River homeowners

HIGH RIVER, Alta. – The flood waters that ravaged High River, Alta. have long since receded, but hundreds of houses remain uninhabitable.

Now, there’s controversy over which ones need to be torn down and which ones can be fixed.

Enter Canada’s most famous contractor — Mike Holmes.

He’s one of the most respected voices when it comes to building and renovation and when he offers advice, people tend to listen.

Many of the homes located in the High River neighbourhood of Hampton Hills have been condemned.

Read more: Flood-impacted homeowners in Alberta given the option of relocating

But until this week, the province has only promised remediation for damages, despite a homeowner-commissioned report saying the structures need to be torn down and rebuilt.

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Holmes echoes the homeowners finding.

“When the water has exceeded into the first floor of your home, that home should come down,” he said. “There’s no fixing that house. I don’t care what anyone says.”

Sarah Bruinsma was one of the residents who brought the 203-page report to the Alberta Government.

“[It proved] our homes are unsafe, both structurally and health-wise,” she said. “I think it would be irresponsible for them to ignore that.”

Rick Fraser, the minister in charge of recovery efforts, met with homeowners — who attended with Holmes at their side — and finally agreed to tear down unlivable houses.

“If the home is uninhabitable because… the mold damage is too high or there’s structural deficiencies, those home will be demolished then rebuilt,” Fraser said.

Third-party inspection of the homes in question will begin this week and homeowners will hopefully know the fate of their residences by Sept. 1.

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As for Holmes, he praised the emergency response to the flood but said “that’s just the beginning.”

“The aftermath is 10 times worse,” he said. “[When we’re] trying to fix things, following protocol… making sure we do it right.”

Read more: High River runs out of storage space after deluge of donations

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