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2013 Flood – High River

The government of Alberta stepped in and provided maps showing the flood way, flood fringe and overland flood areas based on the information gathered after the flood.  Anyone living in the flood way would be offered a buy outs for their properties from the government to prevent this kind of devastation from happening age.  Two neighbourhood in particular in the Town of High River where completely bought out by the government and were to be restored to their natural forms.  The neighbourhood of Wallaceville in the NW area of High River was to be completely demolished as there were no buildings that where salvageable, however the neighbourhood of Beachwood would be a different story. 

On June, 20 2013 a devastating flood struck the several towns across Alberta, Canada over 100,000 people were evacuated and 5 people died.  None struck as hard as the Town of High River Alberta, the entire town was evacuated 13,000.00 people left behind their homes, pets and most valued processions to flee the rising Highwood River.  Final after 9 days the residents were allowed back into the town to start to rebuild.  Some areas in High River recovered quickly while other it took years to fully recover from the damaging flood. 

The very first house was moved out of the Beachwood Area on February 19, 2014.  This house was moved by the owner because he didn’t feel that the government buy out was fair and he wanted to keep his house.  The height of this house was 9.75 M (31’10”) Loaded with a width of 12.19 M (40’) it wasn’t taken very far only about 18.5 Miles (30 KM). 

In December 16, 2016 there were 31 houses in the Beachwood neighbourhood and surrounding areas put up for auction to be moved to new locations.  These houses were million dollar houses, being auctioned off for a starting bid of $100.00. This auction was not very successful only 9 of the 31 houses where sold.  Due to the media attention and not a clear understanding of how moving a building works many of the houses sold for 100s of thousands of dollars and once the unknowing purchasers found out the cost and work involved in moving a building many of them backed out of there purchase. On August 19, 2017 the second auction was held the majority (19) of the houses where sold but some people still bought houses not knowing the full extent of the work involved and backed out.   On October 27, 2017  the third and final auction was held, this time there was no media attention and the remaining 3 houses sold for much more of a reasonable price and to people that had done there research and knew what they were getting into.

The first two houses were moved out of Beachwood on August 10th, 2017 by McCann’s Building Movers.  The Government of Alberta had by this time built a large berm to keep the water out of the rest of town in the event of a flood. This meant that the Town of High River had to build a temporary road to get the houses out of the area and a Road Use Fee of $1,500.00 per load was charged.  McCann’s Building Movers worked very close with the Town to insure that the road would be wide enough to accommodate the houses that where to be moved out of the area.  Because of the size of the houses to be moved and road bans in the area the County of Foothills also implemented a Road Use Agreement and a bond of $15,000.00 had to be paid before they would issue any permits. 

Most of the houses that McCann’s Building Movers moved out of Beachwood stayed within a 25 mile (40 KM) radius but others where moved much further.  On August 10, 2017 McCann’s Building Movers moved a house from High River to the Rimbey Area roughly 345 miles (566 KM) this house was 14.63 M (48 Ft) wide and 8 M (27’3 Ft) tall this move took 3 days and because the house was a L-shaped the garage had to be cut off and transported separately.   On January 16th, 2018 McCann’s Building Movers moved a 13.41 M (44 Ft) wide 8.41 M (28’6 Ft) tall (after the roof was cut) Beachwood house to North of Drayton Valley, AB 315 miles (507 km).  This move took 3 Day and cost roughly $26,000.00 in utility line lifts.  The roof and attached garage were cut off the house and transport up to the new location as well.   

McCann’s Building Movers ended up moving 20 of the 31 house auctioned off and 6 detached garages that were auctioned off with the houses. The houses ranging from 1720 Sq.Ft. Bungalows to 5,120 Sq.Ft. two storeys, many of the houses had to be cut in to multiple pieces; roofs had to be cut off if they were loaded higher than 9 M (29’6 Ft).  McCann’s Building Movers moved these buildings 2, 3 and 4 at a time to save on cost and because utility companies would only let 1 move a month come out of the area.   

McCann’s Estimates that over 2000 tons of materials were saved from landfills, equaling roughly 3500 trees and roughly 700 tons of lumber alone.

In February 2019 the finally house was moved out of the Beachwood Area.