Flood Impacted Residents Showing Interest in Buyouts and Remaining in Neighbourhoods

To stay or leave?

That’s the question many residents in Draper, Ptarmigan Court, and Waterways continue to contemplate.

Over the past two days, around 100 residents in the flood-prone areas gave their thoughts directly to the municipality through the first two flood mitigation open houses.

Right now, the municipality is discussing buyouts for homeowners in Draper, Ptarmigan Court, and those under 250 metres in Waterways, while continuing flood mitigation work in downtown, Longboat Landing, and Taiga Nova Eco-Industrial Park.

Waterways resident Alex McKenzie tells Mix News moving to a different neighbourhood is not an option.

“If we’re forced to move it would probably be right out of town. This is the only community that I would even consider in this city, as beautiful as it is.”

McKenzie is not alone.

Residents in different areas also expressed their desire to stay, however, many like James Excell, who lives in Longboat Landing, said only if the RMWB can promise the area will be safe.

“I don’t want to move but at the same time if we can’t get reasonable insurance in the area, if they can’t get this berm built in a reasonable amount of time then I’m definitely going to consider a buyout.”

Three common answers continue to pop up around buyouts – total agreeance, hesitation, or simply not a possibility.

For Louis Rondeau, who lives in Ptarmigan Court, the decision is an easy one for him and his family.

“The repairs that we have to do now if they’re completed and this happens again which is a distinct possibility then that money is essentially thrown away. You take $20,000 and you might as well just burn it.”

He’s not alone as the Fort McMurray Legion is also looking for a buyout and a land swap to Parsons Creek.

Impacted residents still have four more opportunities to speak directly to the RMWB.

Open houses have been scheduled for August 18 and 19 at Snye Point Park and on August 25 and 26 at MacDonald Island Park.

Interested individuals must register for a two-hour time slot to ensure COVID-19 measures can continue to be followed. Times can be set by calling the Pulse Line at 780-743-7000 or by emailing [email protected].

Wood Buffalo council will potentially make a final decision for each neighbourhood on September 15.

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