To the Surviving and the Survivors ….

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  If you’re a local Canmore / MD of Bighorn resident, please consider going to the meetings to show your support (even if you weren’t affected … folks need a good turnout to the meetings to help with the fight.  Let’s show our support!

From Alaina Fraser August 21, 2013

I ask that this email be circulated widely about town.  First to the Cougar Creek list, then please to all others in Canmore you have contacts for.  Please ask them to forward on as well. 

 At the town meeting this week only about 20 or so were present from the homeowner side.  This included several couples, so sadly, maybe only about 12 homes were represented. 

 We need more survivors at the meetings

One couple who back on the creek but suffered no damage was present.  We need more of you to make the same commitment.   They called themselves the Survivors, as they did not sustain much if any damage to their property.  Lucky they said they might be, but feeling guilty they certainly were.  They were having a hard time with the fact that their neighbourhood was hit so hard yet they were completely spared.  The one thing they could do was support those of us who were in the other boat.  Please make sure you do the same.

 If you back on Cougar Creek – get on the email list

If you are receiving this message and you own a home that backs onto Cougar Creek, you should be registered with the Cougar Creek group.  Please send in your contact details (email, phone, address) to  This is extremely important as we are actively working towards improving our lot.  You must be a resident or owner of a home that backs onto the creek to be included in this email group. 

 Life is not back to normal for any homeowner who sustained damage to their home or yard

Our numbers are starting to dwindle, and this may give the town, and the province the idea that our problems are subsiding, or are solved.  We all full well know this is not the case.  Those of us that have clearly repairable foundations and basements have been given some assurance that the DRP will cover that, at least to some degree.  We have now been assured that the first 3m of backfill will be covered by the DRP.  We now hear of the erosion program that will recover the remainder of the earth we lost within our property lines.  But many of our questions and needs are still unanswered, both from a question perspective and from a funding perspective.  We also face living in our partial home for another year, two, maybe three? 

Some families are still at ground zero.  They have no support from the DRP.

What we still do not have in hand is clear and concise support for our neighbours who are still facing the entire loss of their home.  They are still being held in purgatory by the DRP.  We still have no support for secondary homes.  We still have no answer to the recovery of our landscaping, fences, decks or outside possessions.  There are many other unanswered needs such as those who now have to pay for storage, or alternative accommodation for an extended period of time.  Also the fact that the DRP is so slow, many homes still in need of significant repair are facing further additional costs to winterize to protect what they do have left. 

 Every home on Cougar Creek has suffered a loss of value

For those of you that feel you have suffered no loss to your personal property, you may be right about that.  However, what you have lost is value.  Can you imagine that a home that is untouched is still worth the same as it was valued at on June 19th?  I have just seen an ad for such a home in Exshaw in this weeks’ outlook – “Price Reduced”.  I’m not a real estate professional, but if we have lost 20%, everyone has lost at least $150,000.00 in value.  Lets also consider the massive construction project that will be going on in the Creek until when – the end of 2014?  2015?!!!

 Lady MacDonald & Cougar Creek Neighbourhoods are on the alluvial fan too

The two triangular neighbourhoods that flank the Cougar Creek are also in harms way.  You may not have realized that the effort to save the bridge on Elk Run Blvd was all about saving your neighbourhoods.  Had that bridge been breached, water would have made its way down the road and in through your properties too.  You have a huge stake in the outcome of the new mitigation plans, and protection of your value too.

 This was preventable

The hardest part for us is the fact that this was largely preventable.  The infrastructure of the creek was known to be insufficient as we saw large chunks of it taken out in recent years.  Repair work was to the previous standard, and not improved for lack of participation from AB Gov and CP Rail.  We are taking the loss for poor decisions and lack of decision in the past. 

Please get involved!

Residents who back on Cougar Creek – please be at all the meetings with the Town and/or the Province.  Your presence is needed and it will be noticed.  All others in Canmore – please come to the open meetings too.  There is an election coming up in October as well.  Please be mindful of those running for mayor and council and what their commitment is to supporting our needs both immediate and in the future.  The next term is four years, so we must get it right. 

 Thank you for reading this, and thank you more for rising to the call!

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