Floodway Buyout a Bad Deal for Taxpayers, Communities
November 21, 2013
CALGARY – Floodway buyouts of up to $175 million are a bad deal for taxpayers, create division in communities and won’t prevent future flooding, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.
“If you walk through any of Southern Alberta’s flood devastated communities, you’ll see Neighbour A with the potential to walk away from the damage with full value for their home safely tucked in their pocket and Neighbour B across the street receiving less than 25 percent of the value of their damage” Clark says. “The latest numbers released this week show an average DRP payout of just over $6,000 per applicant, when we know many people sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage. Compared to the average buyout price of nearly $1 million this is a disgrace.”
While the government’s stated goal of the buyouts is to ‘clear the floodway’, their program will not accomplish that. Despite putting taxpayers on the hook for $100 million-plus in flood buyouts, less than half of floodway homeowners plan to leave. With the November 30th deadline looming only 92 of 250 eligible homeowners have expressed intent to leave their homes.
“This will leave people in harm’s way, won’t reduce the impact of future floods and will create ‘Swiss cheese’ communities” said Clark. Worse still, says Clark, provincial money spent on buyouts is not eligible for 90% reimbursement by the federal government, where money spent on flood mitigation is.
“The Markin panel has come up with some compelling ideas for future flood prevention,” said Clark. “The money allocated for buyouts would cover 20% of estimated mitigation costs and this money is eligible for federal reimbursement.
“Proper upstream mitigation is a much better plan than piecemeal buyouts because it protects all homeowners, businesses and critical infrastructure, including High River and downtown Calgary.”
“The floods that ravaged Southern Alberta must never be allowed to happen again. The financial, social and environmental impacts are too much to bear,” said Clark. “Alberta has the resources and ingenuity to prevent flooding, but we need our government to focus on mitigation rather than wasteful and unfair buyouts.”
For further information please contact:
David Benson, Media Relations