Castor mopping up as Red Deer evaluates disaster program claims

Broken trees and wet basements remain as soggy reminders of the high winds and heavy rain that ripped through the central region this week.

Broken trees and wet basements remain as soggy reminders of the high winds and heavy rain that ripped through the central region this week.

Among the hardest hit was the Town of Castor, which is holding a work bee on Monday to clean up the mess that remains after dozens of trees lost limbs or fell down, some striking buildings, vehicles and power lines.

Castor got only half the 100 to 108 mm of rainfall that fell on Red Deer, town CAO Sandra Jackson said on Thursday. But winds exceeding 100 km/h picked up on Monday afternoon and kept on blowing until Wednesday morning, soundly trashing the town’s canopy of mature spruce and poplar trees, said Jackson.

“It looks like a tossed salad,” she said.

Power throughout the town went out just before supper time and was not restored until 11:30 p.m.

The intrepid members of town council, not to be deterred by blowing wind and driving rain, held their regular meeting by candlelight.

It was not romantic, said Jackson.

Castor has declared a disaster in hope that the province will be able to help fund the cleanup, she said.

Crews and volunteers have done what they could to clear roads and haul away debris, but there is more to be done, said Jackson. People and businesses will get together on Monday and finish up, she said.

Further west, the City of Red Deer is now evaluating whether water damage to people’s homes is sufficient to be eligible for the Disaster Recovery Program, said Karen Mann, emergency management co-ordinator for the city.

Mann is asking that people whose homes were damaged by overland flooding, which is normally uninsurable, submit details to City Hall.

A claim will be made to the program if there is sufficient evidence from the homeowners’ submissions, said Mann.

Individuals cannot claim directly to the province, which accepts applications from municipalities only, she said.

Red Deerians whose basements flooded or whose homes sustained other damage from the storm are asked to contact their insurance companies first. If any of the damage is not covered, they should ask the insurer to provide a letter stating that, and then contact the emergency management co-ordinator at 403-342-8258.

Mann said she will not know how many homes are affected until she has received those submissions.

The city, businesses and homeowners last received support from the program in 2008, when a violent tempest overloaded storm sewers, predominately in Rosedale and Deer Park.

Penhold Mayor Julia King said that while her town’s storm sewer system was overwhelmed at a couple of locations, the resulting damage was not sufficient to declare an emergency.

“We’re OK,” said King.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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