Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes issued the following statement last Friday in the aftermath of unprecedented flood damage in High River, Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta last spring:
“It has been six months since floods surged across Alberta. Six months since lives were lost; thousands of Albertans were displaced; countless homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Six months since the worst natural disaster in Canadian history swept through our province.
“But above all of this, it has been six months since Albertans came together — as a province, as neighbours and as a resilient force — to recover and rebuild from these floods. The waters have receded, but this spirit remains, stronger than ever this holiday season, and leads our efforts to rebuild Alberta.
“We’ve seen a great deal of progress in the last six months. Support has been provided to thousands of Alberta families to help them rebuild, and more support is being provided every day. Highways and bridges are repaired, children are back to class in temporary schools and health services have been restored. Hundreds of families are back in their homes, and those unable to return home have been provided comfortable temporary housing while damage is repaired. Albertans can take comfort knowing that their flood-impacted neighbours have a safe, warm place to spend the holidays.
“Although we aren’t back to ‘business as usual,’ we are on the road to recovery. At the same time, we are looking to the future to make sure we are more resilient and ready than ever before to face future floods.
“Our government passed legislation limiting development in the fl oodway, and gave Albertans currently living in these areas the choice to relocate to safer communities. Dozens of erosion-control projects are underway across the province and major mitigation projects are moving forward. We’ll continue to reach out to Albertans over the coming months and years for input.
“Together, over the past six months, we have come a long way. But we still have a lot of work to do. This is not a small undertaking. It will take time and effort; patience and expertise. But we’re committed to building a better, safer province for all Albertans. And we will continue to stand together, driven by Alberta’s spirit, to make sure the job is done right.”