By Pat Stier (March 27, 2015)
Mr. Stier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. After the devastating floods of 2013 water was pumped into the Hampton Hills and Sunrise districts in High River, and the homes in these communities were sacrificed as a result of the emergency strategy. Some communities that flooded like Beachwood, however, were bought out and compensated at full market value, but the Hamptons and Sunrise districts were only compensated for partial home damage. To the minister: will you ensure that the residents of Hampton Hills and Sunrise, who have now lost their homes again as a result of inappropriate remedial work, now receive full market value for their homes and the lots?
The Speaker: The Hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Mrs. McQueen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government cares deeply about the people that were affected by the 2013 floods. It was a devastating event for all of them, and we care deeply. We’re working with the families in Hampton Hills and in all of the areas of High River and in southern Alberta on the flood mitigation work and on the flood recovery program. That’s very important for us. We’ve added additional staff to do that. We will be there till every one of those cases is resolved.
The Speaker: First supplemental.
Mr. Stier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the residents of these communities, though, need a voice in the Legislature, and your government’s DRP response just hasn’t been good enough so far. There are still hundreds of files left to close from these communities of Hampton Hills and Sunrise. They deserve compensation for both their homes and the lots, like Beachwood. It’s been two years, and these residents really need help. Will you admit that the current program to only cover partial values is flawed and reverse this decision and fully compensate these poor residents?
The Speaker: The Hon. Minister.
Mrs. McQueen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I’m so proud to stand and say that the community does have a member of the Legislature in government. The Member for Highwood is in government. I’m very proud to say that. They do have their MLA sitting on this side of the House and doing a fantastic job. [interjections]
Mr. Speaker, they were replaced at assessed value, and we will continue to be there for every one of those cases until they’re resolved.
An Hon. Member: And so will their MLA.
Mrs. McQueen: And so will their MLA. We’ve added additional staffing to make sure that that will happen, to make sure that all of those cases are resolved.
The Speaker: Hon. Member, final supplemental. I hope we can all give him the floor and give the answering person the floor as well.
Mr. Stier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the government’s DRP response has been less than stellar. I say once again that when emergency services ordered these two communities to be sacrificed, the residents expected full and proper compensation. They didn’t ask for that to be done. Please explain why this government has refused to do a full and complete buyout for their homes. Explain.
The Speaker: The Hon. Minister.
Mrs. McQueen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me remind this Hon. Member that there were 10,500 cases from the 2013 floods. We have gotten all of those completed, with just under 2,000 left to complete. There is no other jurisdiction that has been able to react and respond as quickly as Alberta has done with regard to that. You look at the floods in Manitoba. They couldn’t respond as quickly as we have. We will be there for every one of those residents. We will be there right till the end. We’ve increased it from 50 per cent to 90 per cent of the funding, and it’s because of this government.