New housing and retail development renews investor confidence in High River
A new housing and retail development in High River is being hailed as proof of renewed confidence in the town’s ability to handle another flood event.
Flood water swept through the town in 2013 and since then it has been rebuilding and working to protect itself against future floods.
On Wednesday, one of Canada's largest developers, Dream Development, announced plans to build new homes and a new strip mall in the town south of Calgary.
Mayor Craig Snodgrass says it's proof that the difficult and expensive job of flood mitigation is paying off.
“It’s massive to High River to have the Montrose Dream Development continuing on and starting their next phases and it’s just a testament to the work we’ve done in this town for the last four years and protection was number one after what happened and we’ve done that to the point where we’re the most well protected community in Canada from flood risk now and that has built the confidence not just with the residents that are here now but for the future residents that are looking at High River as a place to enjoy life,” he said. “It’s a huge message to other developers. It’s a message to everybody that we committed to this thing and High River’s back and better than we ever were before.”
Snodgrass says the flood changed the town for the better and people should come out and see what has been done.
“This is our home. This is where we live. This is where we have our businesses and if you’ve got to commute to Calgary it’s an easy commute,” he said. “Is there a stigma around High River still? Absolutely there is. But we’re proud of what we’ve been through and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and that’s who we are.”
A number of initiatives have been undertaken to improve flood protection including the construction of over eight kilometres of berms and Trevor Dickie, VP of Calgary Land with Dream Development, says they are committed to projects there.
“We were working alongside all the residents in the recovery and just trying to move forward. It is a fantastic town. It was a very impactful event and I think we’re looking to move on. We have some certainty in the flood mitigation work that’s been done. We’re here to invest more money and just carry on and make the town back to its former glory,” said Dickie. “We have a significant investment here and I think one of the things that we just came to realize it’s just more of a kind of reinventing the product a bit, relaunching.”
“We’re looking very much to a future. The fact that the flood did happen and so many precautions have been taken to prevent that from happening in the future. I think that it put it on the map and you don’t have to explain to anyone where it is,” said Shevawn Sernecky, Director of Retail Leasing for Dream Development.
The strip mall is expected to open later this year and construction on the show homes will begin in the next month.