RMWB council asks administration for options on acquired Draper homes in flood area

Councillor Ken Ball argued that deciding on what to do with the newly acquired Draper homes be done quickly.

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Council wants to figure out what to do with the nine homes in Draper that are now owned by the municipality. The homes were part of buyouts for residents in flood-prone sections of Draper last year and there are concerns the homes and properties will deteriorate.

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The motion, proposed by Councillor Ken Ball at Tuesday’s council meeting, orders administration to review and present options for what can be done with the properties. Delaying action will guarantee “grief” for the municipality, he said.

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“What I’d like to see is that administration comes back to us with a report that frankly suggests the best option for each of the properties,” said Ball. “One might be selling it and someone living in it. One might be someone buying the home and relocating it to a property somewhere else. One might be this place is completely in disarray and needs to be demolished. But we haven’t said anything.”

Council approved buyouts in Draper in July 2023. CAO Henry Hunter said the last of the nine properties was purchased by the RMWB in December. Inspections are done every 48 hours and the inside are inspected for damage every two months. The properties have also been winterized.

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Council was told there are no legal restrictions stopping the municipality from selling the newly acquired properties. The buyout process was different than a typical expropriation process, which obligates the municipality to make those lands available to a third-party if not used within two years.

Representatives from the RMWB also told council that administration was already creating a report for council that would include options. This includes costs of demolishing, salvaging and moving the homes.

“We were looking at demolishing them, salvaging and demolishing, and that was the options. That’s straightforward. It’s quite clear, it’s quite defined,” said Hunter. “At the moment it’s pretty wide open and if we can narrow it down a little bit, that would make it even easier for us to be able to do something.”

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Councillor Jane Stroud said she has heard concerns from residents that people who accepted buyouts would buy ack their homes at a discounted price. She pointed out the buyout was intended to remove people from living in a flood-prone area. Councillor Stu Wigle, who represents Draper on council, agreed with concerns mentioned by Stroud.

“The people that did not take the buyout didn’t have the option to then sell their property and then have an opportunity to rebuy it back,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers money to also sell out and then give them the option to sell it back.”

Ball said he felt all options should be proposed to council so the issue can be resolved quickly. Wigle said he is open to moving homes off the properties, but opposes selling the homes as-is.

Councillor Keith McGrath was the only councillor to oppose the motion. Councillor Kendrick Cardinal was absent from the meeting.

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