Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Flood-struck B.C. residents say damaged homes offered buyouts at post-disaster values

As reported on CTV News, more than one year after rescuers swam from home to home in a low-income neighbourhood devastated by flooding in Grand Forks, B.C., some residents say they were rattled to learn the property buyouts they’ve been waiting for will be based on post-disaster values.

It’s one of several steps in the community’s recovery process that could be replicated elsewhere as climate change brings more extreme weather.

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Dave Soroka, a 65-year-old musician who lives on the flood plain, says it’s the latest bad news in what has been a difficult year.

“We all understood that was possible but with the optimism that was being thrown at us, that line ‘We’ve got your backs,’ it all sounded good,” he said.

Soroka and his wife own two properties in North Ruckle that were assessed before the flood at a combined $270,000 and after at $150,000. They are pensioners who had paid off their mortgages but may now go into debt to buy a new home.

They have organized a neighbourhood meeting to discuss options but Soroka said he can’t afford a lawyer on his own.

“We’re not rich people down here on the flood plain, we’re low-income folk,” he said.

Recovery efforts in Grand Forks have been somewhat slow moving, in part because the situation is unprecedented. It’s the first community of its size in B.C. to experience flooding on this scale in decades and has become the test site for recovery efforts that could be duplicated in other places given the extreme weather brought on by climate change.

Keep reading on CTV News

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