Land Swaps Still Possible For Flood Area Residents If Province Provides ‘Owed’ Land

Land swaps could still be possible for people impacted by April’s flood.

Wood Buffalo council spent five days over the past week discussing the next steps for the six flood-prone areas ultimately choosing to continue mitigation work instead of offering buyouts.

Speaking on Fort McMurray Matters, Mayor Don Scott says the cost would have been too high for the municipality to afford.

The RMWB also couldn’t offer any land swaps as all the available land in the community, mostly in Parsons Creek and Saline Creek, is owned by the province.

“We’ve tried our best to get that land, we’ve been doing it for a number of years and we’re just getting nowhere,” said Scott.

After the municipality completed over $50 million in infrastructure work which was supposed to be done by the province, they made a deal to acquire the land as repayment.

However, they have yet to receive anything as compensation.

“We’ve specifically asked for this land so we can accommodate the people who were flooded out,” added Scott. “The province hasn’t been running to the table.”

If they eventually get it, Scott believes there’s a strong possibility there will be future talks about land swaps for those who wanted to take a buyout.

In an email sent to Mix News, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Infrastructure says they, along with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, are continuing to talk with the RMWB.

“Officials have been in regular communication and are working collaboratively with the RMWB exploring a variety of options in the wake of the floods.”

Meanwhile, the municipality is also in talks to acquire land around the Athabasca Bridge, on the left-hand side when driving towards MacDonald Island Park.

The GoA reportedly offered to lease the area for $1 million which Scott calls ‘nonsense.’

“It’s consistently not helping this region even though we’ve supported not only Alberta but Canada for as long as I can remember.”

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