Provincial State of Emergency ended in High River - 660 NEWS
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Provincial State of Emergency ended in High River

The provincial state of emergency has ended in High River and officials are trying to reassure residents that they will not be abandoned.

The town is transitioning from being in a provincial state of emergency to a local state of emergency. 

Many in the community think it’s far too early for that with piles of garbage, drywall, and debris still piled up on sidewalks.

But at a news conference Saturday morning, residents were assured that the province will still have a huge presence in the town.

“We still have all the advisors from the province, we still have over one-hundred members of the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development with us and they brought in all their experts and are providing is with their best advice,” Director of Emergency Operations Ross Shapka explains.

High River’s Mayor is praising all of the volunteers who have travelled to High River to help rebuild, including celebrity home renovator Mike Holmes, who has been talking with residents about mould and structural damage.

“It’s an overwhelming thing for our residents.  That’s the thing they talk abut most – the support from our neighbours and friends all over Alberta, but particularly Calgary who have come to us in our time of need here,” said Mayor Emile Blokand.

Residents are concerned about the speed of recovery efforts in the town, saying it’s taking to long to pump water out and temporary housing is taking too long to get ready.

Meanwhile, some residents in the hardest hit part of High River are coming home to disaster.

Hampton Hills and Sunrise are the communities still being inspected by health officials and 20 homes have now been considered unsafe to live in.

Doctor James Talbot, Chief Medical Officer for Alberta Health says more homes will be determined to be dangerous.

“There are about 20 in the neighbourhood but that count will change as the inspectors do the rest of the neighbourhoods,” Talbot said, “It’s just unsafe to enter (the homes)”.

Both Sunrise and Hampton Hills are still under a boil water advisory as well.