Voluntary buyouts are being offered to property owners in Ptarmigan Court.
Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they got an update on mitigation work in flood-prone areas and approved the next steps for those in Ptarmigan, Draper, and Waterways.
Buyouts at 2020 accessed values are being offered for Ptarmigan Court mainly due to the ‘impracticality’ of providing structural flood mitigation.
The only viable option would be concrete walls and cost between $20 million – $25 million.
The municipality says this would have possibly detracted the liveability in the neighbourhood, while also intruding on multiple lots.
Mayor Don Scott was the only one to vote against the buyouts, while Councillors Claris Voyageur and Jeff Peddle didn’t take part.
Over the past several weeks, the RMWB held one-on-one engagement sessions with 52 of the 69 impacted lots. They weren’t able to get in contact with the remaining 17 owners.
Over 30 claimed their first preference was to be bought out, four stated they wanted a land swap, while eight wanted funding to raise their property.
If all lots accept the buyout, the municipality would have to spend around $14 million.
Those who don’t want one can request to have their homes raised to the 250.9 metre mark or remain at status quo.
A decision must be made by May 31, 2021.
The municipality will be looking into a possible grant program for a lot-by-lot solution.
The main use of the funds would be to raise homes to the 251 metre mark as this was the top answer given to the municipality during the public engagement.
It was not a majority as just seven of the 31 property owners who spoke to the RMWB gave this answer. In total, there are 46 impacted properties.
Voluntary buyouts weren’t discussed at great length as it would cost around $60 million for all properties.
Local resident Brianne Ringheim asked council to consider offering them as only four lots stated they were somewhat interested.
She noted the acquired land could have also been given to Indigenous groups to allow them more space for their cultural practices.
Flood mitigation work in Waterways will continue as planned.
Councillor Mike Allen brought forward a motion to offer voluntary buyouts for properties under the 250.9 metres mark, however, it was voted against.
If approved and all 105 impacted properties took the buyout it would have cost the municipality around $25.5 million.
Land swaps continue to be discussed, however, the municipality is still looking to acquire land in Parsons Creek and Saline Creek.
During the one-on-one public engagement, 58 property owners spoke to the municipality with over half stating they didn’t want a land swap.
Twelve claimed they wanted to leave the neighbourhood, while 10 needed more information.
The work in the area is expected to cost around $44 million – $24 million to finish work on the berm and another $20 million for the Saline Creek Egress Road.
The proposed work would see crews raise McCormick Drive and Saline Creek from the Saline Creek bridge to Tomlinson Street, where it will connect to the egress road.