Flood victims still wait for compensation response

By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor

Kevin Scoble

Kevin Scoble

The December 1 meeting was four hours long, with the bulk of the meeting going to the Timberlea flood issue. During a meeting in September, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Scoble had given a report on the flooding and the upgrades being done to the Timberlea sewer system.

Council had directed administration at that time to look into the technical aspects of the flooding and to find out if the municipality was liable in any way. Administration came back during the December 1 meeting and made the recommendation that council not provide any financial compensation to those affected by the flood of July 12, 2015.

Council voted that recommendation down after hearing from many residents during the meeting about the damage that was done to their homes. Some are now unable to get flood insurance due to the fact that they have been flooded on three separate occasions.

Councillor Tyran Ault made the motion that, “The Timberlea Sewer Backups item come back to Council within two months following the completion of the Insurer’s report.” At that time, Council will look at the issue again when they have more information from the insurer’s report.

Councillor Colleen Tatum made a further motion stating, “Administration develop and submit for Council’s consideration a policy, and supporting program, to provide for a fund from, which compensation may be provided to owners or occupants of property in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, including business owners, who suffer loss or damage as a result of circumstances where there is involvement on the part of the Regional Municipality.” Council passed both motions.

The flood that affected the “Timberlea B’s” is being called the most severe rain storm event in Fort McMurray since the Timberlea area was developed. In the report, administration also stated, “…it was determined that losses resulting from another sewer backup incident that occurred on August 30, 2015 in Timberlea – not associated with a storm event – were caused by acts or omissions of the Municipality’s contractor.

As a result, claims from residents affected by that August 30, 2015 incident have been accepted, and are expected to result in payments of compensation by the Municipality’s insurer. The insurer is also expected to pursue the contractor for reimbursement of payments it has made or will make on those claims.”

Also during the meeting council approved the consolidation of the Saprae Creek design and pre-design for a budget total of $500,000. Council also agreed to move this project to funded for consideration in the capital budget of 2016.

The last item of the night was in regards to the recruitment, temporary housing and employment policies. These recommendations came about because of the KPMG audit that was done and presented in 2014. There were three policies that were presented. The first policy was on transitional and temporary housing, and council approved it, allowing for newly hired employees to obtain temporary subsidized housing options.

The next policy on temporary commuting policy was defeated by council. The councillors did not agree that a temporary commuting fund was needed for temporary employees, as permanent employees could not use the option.

The last policy on Exempt Severance was also passed by council.

– Connect Weekly –