Councillors of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo are planning to petition the provincial government of Alberta following word that local condominium residents are facing steep insurance costs after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.
During a public hearing last week, representatives from three condominium complexes discussed how the difficulty to secure property insurance is affecting residents, CBC News reported.
“We’re going to see foreclosures; we’re going to see people forced from their homes,” said Robert Guy of Cedarwoods Condominium Corporation.
The complex of 156 townhouses discovered in August that its insurer would drop its coverage. The board scrambled to find a replacement, but the only other insurer it could find charged a $947,000 premium. That same insurer added that it would only cover $10 million out of the property’s total value of $65 million, with a deductible of $250,000.
Guy noted that the exorbitant premium would mean residents would have to pay an additional $6,000 in condominium fees for the year – a setup he has described as “unsustainable.”
Wood Buffalo mayor Don Scott also believes that improperly insured condos could lead to breached mortgages, and eventually foreclosures.
“It’s undermining home ownership in the region,” the mayor said during the meeting.
Councillor Mike Allen, who owns a condo, commented that the insurance rates could ultimately upset the entire region, especially when it is trying to attract more people.
“Things like this are not only detrimental to the individual, but they’re detrimental to the region as a whole as we’re trying to attract more people to come here and live,” Allen said.
Another councillor, Krista Balsom, recommended that Wood Buffalo reach out to other municipalities to see if they have experienced the same issues, and to band together to lobby for change.