Buyouts were top of mind at the RMWB’s townhall focusing on flood mitigation.
Residents were given the chance on Monday to ask questions and share their opinion on how the municipality should proceed with work in the five flood-prone areas.
They’re currently considering buyouts for Draper, Ptarmigan Court, and the section of Waterways below 250 metres, while downtown and Taiga Nova Eco-Industrial Park would continue to see flood mitigation work with restrictions on future development.
There were mixed reactions when it came to buyouts.
“We would all like to have a nice safe place to live and raise our kids and not have to worry about this,” one resident stated.
Another individual claimed providing buyouts at current market value would be just as harmful as staying in the areas.
“If it leaves residents with a huge debt to the banks, it’s not going to be worth it.”
The RMWB is currently leaning towards providing current market value for properties if buyouts are chosen by Wood Buffalo council.
“Expropriations are possible, however, they are a tool of last resort,” added Matthew Hough, RMWB Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. “If buyouts are pursued, we tend to negotiate with property owners in good faith.”
The municipality did confirm they are considering Longboat Landing as a separate area that could receive buyouts. They’re also in discussions with the province about acquiring additional land in Parsons Creek if council votes in favour of land swaps.
Meanwhile, residents will still be able to voice their opinions before council meets on July 28 where they’re expected to make a final decision.
A Facebook live event is being held on Thursday at 2 p.m.
Individuals can also email email@example.com to participate in the upcoming special council meeting.