The Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee is sending one last recommendation to council.
On Wednesday, they supported the proposed acquisition of 14 additional properties in Waterways. Last month, council approved the buyout of 21 properties deemed unsafe to rebuild on due to slope stability issues.
As part of the recommendation, each buyout would be mandatory. This comes after some residents were told by their insurance company they needed a mandatory buyout to receive the full amount of financial support.
“I believe this is a clear opportunity to give people a chance to build back better and not be forced to spend a ton of their rebuild dollars or sacrifice their rebuild dollars on mitigating a risk we’ve known,” said Councillor Sheldon Germain.
There were mixed reviews from the property owners with many wanting a buyout while others were hoping to rebuild.
Andre Maher, along with his fiancée Vanessa Robertson, were planning on rebuilding the place they called home for nearly two years.
He says they are disappointed but understand why the municipality and some of their neighbors wanted a buyout.
“At the standpoint of cost and having to do plumbing and water, I understand, we were hopeful, our first home and we loved it down there.”
If council approves the committee’s recommendation, the total cost of acquiring all 35 properties would be around $10 million. Councillor Keith McGrath recently spoke to Mix News and says he hopes disaster relief funding would cover the costs.
Council is expected to discuss the motion at their next meeting scheduled for June 13.