Lack of flood assistance for second-home owners questioned

As the flood cleanup continues, Albertans with vacation or rental homes are wondering if they'll get any help from the government.

The provincial and federal governments are helping homeowners pay for everything from lost furniture and food to cleanup and landscaping.

But that assistance is only earmarked for Albertans whose primary residences were affected by the flooding.

A big part of Farshad Sepandj’s vacation property in Lac des Arcs, along the Bow River 90 kilometres west of Calgary, was sucked into a sinkhole, inlcuding his car and a small cabin.

His house, now sitting much closer to the river's edge, might have to be condemned, he said.

"So, probably more than a third to half an acre, just washed away."

But Sepandj has been denied funding through the disaster assistance program because it’s not his primary home.

"This is the place we foresee as being our retirement and now it's destroyed the way it is,” he said.

The lack of assistance for vacation home owners is going to be a big problem in Canmore, said John Borrowman, the town’s mayor.

"About a third of our full population are non-permanent residents, so of course we're very concerned on their behalf,” he said.

But the associate minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction, Kyle Fawcett, said the disaster assistance program has a very specific focus.

"This is consistent with all the disaster recovery programs across the country during a disaster. It's the primary residences that are eligible,” he said.

However Fawcett said there could be future discussions about helping secondary home owners.