The book signing tour in Alberta, at least in the southern portion, has definitely not been what was planned. Of the devastating and tragic floods, Alberta Premier Alison Redford has said, “We will live with this forever”. Damage is estimated to be in the billions of dollars and at least three people have died as a result.
There has naturally been some changes and cancellations in my schedule. Book signings, in downtown Calgary and Canmore, didn’t happen as downtown Calgary was closed and Canmore had been devastated. It is the worst flooding in Alberta history and I saw some of it first hand on Monday night. We walked through a part of Calgary’s Elbow Park neighborhood, bordering the Elbow River, and were pretty stunned by the destruction. I took some photographs. No lights and the sound of generators and pumper trucks. Piles of soggy belongings, carpet and gyproc in front yards. One resident described it as a war zone. We could see the height the river reached in parts of the neighborhood and where we stood on the road, it was over our heads. Many homes had the basement inundated and also the main floor, as the water would have been several feet deep there also.
We saw things like a grand piano sitting in someone’s driveway to: dry out / be removed to the dump? One volunteer helped firemen catch a seven pound northern pike swimming down 4th street. I talked to one man who’s home had absolutely no damage. It was built on a higher bank across from the homes that were submerged. He said the water got to within a foot of the top of the bank but didn’t go over and he said it was moving so fast, it was “crowned up” or higher in the middle of the river. Another man, further down, a friend of a relative of mine that we visited, said that they had a little water in their basement that came through a window that they were able to pump out. Across the street from them however, their neighbour in a large luxurious home, had, the man estimated, a half a million dollars damage in the basement. The whole house is probably in the two to three million dollar price range.
Is the Alberta government going to be spending half a million dollars on that man’s home, which would be funded by the vast majority of tax payers that can’t afford to live in such a house, on such a location by a river, which is why it was flooded in the first place? Hmm. Many people said they had so little time before they had to leave and they were unprepared. A spiritual parallel could be drawn in that many unfortunately are not ready to meet their God. It is good to be prepared for all things. Hopefully the damage of the floods will be repaired quickly and lessons will be learned, applicable to all aspects of people’s lives.