City buys, demolishes two homes at risk of instability

Two properties along Cronquist Drive were purchased by the City of Red Deer for $1.4 million and the houses on them were demolished after a 2012 slope stabilization survey showed the foundations were at risk for becoming unstable.

Two properties along Cronquist Drive were purchased by the City of Red Deer for $1.4 million and the houses on them were demolished after a 2012 slope stabilization survey showed the foundations were at risk for becoming unstable.

The properties were purchased for $700,000 each using a third-party land appraisal. The city received a $600,000 grant from the province and is budgeting $25,000 each to restore the properties.

Unless there is a risk to property or city infrastructure, the City of Red Deer does not actively try to the stop erosion along the riverbanks.

“The city did not have any legal responsibility to purchase the properties,” said Paul Goranson, the city’s director of development services. “We facilitated a process to get grant assistance from the province of Alberta to help the impacted owners with the intent to recover any other costs from the resale of the properties.”

A few years ago, the city put some restrictions in its land-use bylaw to prevent development in high escarpment areas that may be vulnerable to erosion along the riverbanks.

No other properties that the city is aware of are currently at risk, said Goranson.

The city does not go out and look for erosion along the riverbanks. Goranson said the primarily concern is along bridge abutments where there is damage to trails. The city generally fixes the damage right away to prevent any further destruction.

“Creeks move,” said Goranson. “Rivers move. They are always eroding the banks, that’s just the way it is. If it is not creating risks for people’s property or our infrastructure there is not a lot we do.”

The estimated infrastructure damage from the June flooding is about $400,000 at the River Bend Recreation Area water intake, McKenzie Trails berm and the storm pond and berms at North Highway Connector (at Red Deer River).

Goranson said the city has one year to complete the application for flood damage assistance so there may be additional locations identified. Not all of the repairs have been completed.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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