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Sunday, June 30, 2013

OVER 100 FLOOD-DAMAGED CALGARY BUILDINGS MAY BE DEMOLISHED


CALGARY -- As the city continues to clean up after last week’s flooding, officials say more than 100 flood-damaged homes and businesses could face demolition, and some buildings could remain without electricity for months.
Bruce Burrell, the head of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency, said since the city began inspecting damaged homes Friday, more than 100 structures -- not all of them houses -- have been identified as possibly unsafe and will require a final assessment.
“They are the ones we are contemplating demolition of,” Burrell said Saturday.
“There probably will be more ... that doesn’t mean we are going to demolish 100 structures, but they are the ones that need to be assessed for demolition.
“There are structures in the city that are currently unsafe and cannot remain standing ... so they will have to come down over the course of the next few days or week or so in order to ensure safety for the other structures adjacent to them.”
The list being re-evaluated include homes that shifted on their foundation or were hit with walls of water up to four metres high that blew right through them, he said.
The dubious structures are spread throughout flood-devastated areas of the city, including downtown and Bowness, and damage seems to depend on the amount of water, how it channelled, how it flowed and where it impacted.
“It’s tough stuff,” Burrell said. “We understand some of the things that are going to have to occur are going to impact the viability of some businesses in the City of Calgary and also impact a number of people’s lives, so these are going to be very deliberate moves we make as we determine and finalize the list.”
The assessment process will take between five and seven days, he said.
“This is very preliminary, we don’t want people thinking we are going to tear down their structures -- we’ll make contact with property owners before there is any demolition work done,” he said.
All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, but residents of the East Village were reminded Saturday to not return to their homes. The area has not yet been cleared for re-occupancy and more than 80% of the homes are still without power.
Most of the city is back on the power grid following the flooding, but some buildings may be without electricity for months.
Although the ability to get power has been restored across the city, Burrell said that damage to some electrical systems in some buildings is so damaged it may take as long as six to eight months to restore power.
Energy distribution company Enmax said some of the areas that remain without power are those closest to the river.
KATIE SCHNEIDER | QMI AGENCY
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