Cougar Creek Homeowners Situation – Important Update from John Marriott

Hello everyone,

It’s been a busy few months and I felt it was time I reached out to everyone to give a bit of a status update on where many of us sit with our homes and where our status sits with the Town, the Province, the DRP, fellow Canmore homeowners, fellow Alberta taxpayers, and the media.

To begin, I’ll start with the positive: several Cougar Creek homeowners, including myself, have now begun to receive cheques from DRP to begin to chip into this wall of debt many of us are incurring.  My wife and I received $10,000 from the DRP on Monday in the mail and I know of at least two other homeowners that have now received their first cheque.  DRP has now paid out $7 million in payments to Alberta homeowners, which, while still paltry in the big scheme of things, is certainly a step up from the $2 million they were bragging about at the last public forum in Canmore.

A second positive: the media has not forgotten about us, and in fact, my wife and I spoke on behalf of Cougar Creek residents at length in a one-hour interview yesterday on Shaw TV for a documentary they are putting together on the flood that will air on Shaw and Global later this fall.  I was also interviewed at length by three different Calgary Herald reporters yesterday wishing to follow up on the story to date, as were several other Cougar Creek residents.

A third positive: some of us are finally nearing the end of our first round of repairs.  Three more homeowners were granted occupancy yesterday.

These positives are great, but we do still have a tremendous uphill battle on our hands to ensure that we are all fairly compensated and to ensure that the creek is returned to a safe state for all of us to live by, including all of our not-as-affected Green home neighbours on Cougar Creek and on neighbouring streets throughout the Cougar Creek alluvial fan area. I’m not sure many of our neighbours that live off the creek truly understand just how close the creek was to flowing sideways over the Elk Run bridge and flowing directly down Elk Run and Benchlands into the hundreds and hundreds of homes in those developments.  And I’m not sure any of us truly realize just how fortunate the community was that our snowpack was as low as it was this year, otherwise our disaster could have been on an unimaginable scale impacting thousands of homes. To that end, I think it is time we galvanize the entire Cougar Creek community, including everyone you know that lives between Elk Run and Benchlands from the start of Cougar Creek right down to the TCH.  We need everyone on board to ensure that the Town gets the needed funding from the Province to ensure that this never happens again and that our property values remain safe. 

So please pass this along to all of your neighbours on the ‘sunny side’ and have them email cougarcreekcanmore@gmail.com to get added to our distribution list.  I will not bother them with DRP emails or reconstruction emails, but I will keep them entirely in the loop in regards to the Town’s progress with Cougar Creek and the mitigation measures enacted along the creekbed and anything else that directly affects their potential future home values and safety.

We also need their support to continue to put pressure on our provincial government and Ron Casey and Associate Minister Fawcett to compensate those of us that were affected in full as was originally promised.  There are already a lot of rumblings from unaffected homeowners in Alberta that feel Premier Redford should not be compensating those affected and to that I have just this to say:

Imagine waking up at 2:30 am one morning to discover that your neighbourhood trickle has become a raging torrent that may engulf the home you saved so long to afford in a town you love. You get evacuated, your belongings are left behind, but you take solace in the knowledge that at least your family is safe and that your house insurance will cover everything.  Then you learn that house insurance doesn’t cover a thing, that your provincial and federal governments have lulled you along for your entire life believing that they’ve allowed an insurance system to develop that will protect you in times of need when in fact the opposite is true. Imagine your outrage, then understand why it is that so many of us affected feel so strongly that we should be compensated for our losses and be allowed to return to as normal a state of living as we enjoyed before the disaster struck.

So please urge your neighbours to get involved with this group at cougarcreekcanmore@gmail.com and encourage them to write to our MLA, Ron Casey, at banff.cochrane@assembly.ab.ca and Associate Minister Fawcett at swfrecovery@gov.ab.ca to help support us in our fight for timely repairs, rebuilds, and compensation, and to push for full mitigation on Cougar Creek to protect us all for the future.

It would be fantastic if we can have a HUGE show of support both from all of us and from all of our neighbours at the August 29th Town meeting for Cougar Creek residents, so please also encourage everyone to attend!

Thank you,

John

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