Temporary neighbourhood under construction
Flood 2013: Camps same as those used in oilfields
Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 06:00 am
Aldersyde’s population will explode in the next couple of weeks once a temporary neighbourhood for displaced High River residents is completed.
A temporary neighbourhood large enough to house about 1,250 people is currently under construction in the Saddlebrook Industrial Park between Cargill and Aldersyde along Highway 2A north of High River.
Doug Finamore, regional manager for Outland Camps, said their company is among those helping to build the temporary neighbourhood. He said everyone is working hard to ensure the housing is comfortable for families who have lost their homes to the June flood.
“These are all trailers similar to work camps in the oilsands, but they will have gymnasiums and play areas for kids,” said Finamore. “Guys live in these type of camps in the middle of winter. They have to be comfortable or guys won’t go. The food has to be good. We want to make this as comfortable as possible.”
Finamore said their outfit will house about 300 people in a facility similar to college dorms. Each unit will house 50 people with rooms and shared washroom facilities. The idea is to be able to keep families together in a setting similar to a hotel room.
Only this facility will have better food.
For example, the Outland camp will have an executive chef who will ensure families staying in the camp will have three healthy, fresh meals each day as well as snacks available 24 hours a day.
Finamore said the goal is to have the camp up and running as soon as possible, but there are some road blocks including excavation of the site and water, power and septic hook-ups.
“We want to be up and running as soon as possible so when people are ready to move in we will be there,” said Finamore. “We know people need a place to live and we will have everything they need, 100 per cent.”
According to Finamore they have been told the camp will be needed long term likely between two and eight months.
Although the majority of High River residents have been allowed back to their homes, many of the homes remain uninhabitable meaning these residents need temporary shelter while their existing homes are remediated, or in some cases, rebuilt altogether.
The need for the temporary neighbourhoods has become even more critical after the evacuation centres in Blackie and Nanton were closed on Friday. The evacuation centre at the Okotoks Recreation Centre was also closed last week, but as of Monday several families were still staying at the rec centre.
With the closure of the evacuation centres displaced residents were moved to other long-term options including the University of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary and the Super 8 motel in High River.
A total of 336 High River residents have now moved into interim housing at no charge including 227 relocated to the University of Lethbridge; 78 relocated to the University of Calgary; and 132 relocated to the Super 8.
Construction crews are working to prepare the temporary neighbourhoods at Aldersyde and another in Calgary. The provincial government has not announced a date as to when the new facilities will be ready for residents to move in. It is expected the temporary neighbourhoods will be ready within three weeks.