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High River homeowners win right to go to arbitration to try for buyouts

HIGH RIVER — Homeowners in two southern Alberta neighbourhoods that were under water for almost a month have won a small victory in their fight with the Alberta government for compensation.

A judge has awarded 18 families who own homes in the Hamptons and Sunrise neighbourhoods in High River the right to take their case to a third party arbitrator.

The homeowners say they suffered more damage than other High River neighbourhoods because the berms surrounding their communities kept their homes submerged in a man-made lake for up to 30 days.

They say to make matters worse, emergency officials pumped even more water into their neighbourhoods from nearby communities so those communities could dry out faster.

The Alberta government has offered residents money to repair their homes, but some believe their houses are unlivable and want money to totally rebuild.

They claim the province should compensate them at a level above the standard disaster relief payments, claiming their homes were sacrificed to benefit others.

“We weren’t victims of a natural disaster, we were victims of a man-made disaster,” says homeowner Greg Tymchyna.

“We are talking about houses that are totally destroyed. Structurally, there’s nothing left of these homes. We have mould issues; it’s behind the wall, it’s in the insulation, it’s in the attic.”

Tymchyna, his wife and their four children have been out of their home for six months.

“The house is worthless and you just can’t repair that home and the DRP (disaster relief program) won’t listen to our case.”

An Alberta Justice spokesperson says it respects the court’s decision and is considering its next step.

 
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