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Waterways Residents Feeling “Frustrated” Waiting For Decision on Properties

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Waterways Residents Feeling "Frustrated" Waiting For Decision on Properties

Around 20 residents discussing options moving forward for Zone 3 and 3A // Jaryn Vecchio - Harvard Broadcasting

“Frustrating” is the word some Waterways residents are feeling as they continue to wait for answers.

Almost one year since the events of the past spring and many feel they aren’t any closer to rebuilding on their property. On Wednesday, around 20 residents attended a “Here for You” information session to hear more about the slope stability assessment that was done in the community.

“It feels really hopeless and we’re getting really discouraged,” said Vanessa Robertson whose property is in one of the higher risk neighbourhoods. “Our minds are shifting from what kind of builder to where else should we live.”

For some in Waterways, they’ve been given the green light to rebuild due to the fact their property has barely any risk of movement. For others, the risk might be too high to rebuild.

This is the case for properties in Zone 3A and Zone 3.

Zone 3A, is the highest risk area and property owners will still need to wait for council’s decision on whether or not homes can be rebuilt in the area. Property owners in Zone 3 are in a different situation as rebuilding could still possibly happen but the owner would need to conduct their own geotechnical report.

Right now, the municipality is working on conducting appraisals for both zones. Operations Manager with the Wood Buffalo Task Force Erin O’Neill says they will be hiring the company which can conduct over 30 appraisals in the fastest time.

“They want to do the timely thing in the right manner and that’s what we are looking at. There is no easy way, it’s not about giving us money because there are a lot of attachments,” said Najwa Karamujic. “The frustration is having people have control over answers you really don’t have an input on and there is also a frustration in what are the next steps, how are we going to do this and fear of somebody saying you have to go back there and live on this land and it’s going to move every day.”

O’Neill says there is no timetable of when a decision would be made about both areas.

As these residents wait, worry is starting to set in as living costs are running out, this includes funding from the Canadian Red Cross and their own insurance.

“A lot of these people have run out of insurance,” said Ron MacNeill. “They can’t afford it and a lot of people have left Waterways and it’s very sad because after 38 years you get to know a lot of people and lot of these people I knew have left.”

“It’s dwindling pretty fast and it doesn’t sound like the city is going to help us out,” added Robertson.

Rob de Pruis with the Insurance Bureau of Canada tells Mix News there are three options these individuals can take.

One thing residents can do is speak with the insurance companies Ombudsperson who can deal with complaints. If there are still some concerns you can contact the General Insurance Ombudservice or the Insurance Bureau of Canada who has a consumer information centre.

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