Six On/ Six Off: The Rebuilding of YMM
Off: Rebuilding: it’s not all that complicated a process, right?
On: On the contrary, rebuilding may seem uncomplicated, but when there are significant numbers of structures needing to be rebuilt and entire neighbourhoods impacted, the scenario is deeply complex. From the clearing of debris in wildfire destroyed and damaged areas to orchestrating permits and actual construction, rebuilding is going to take a lot of work – and time.
Off: Well, it’s all covered by insurance, so at least there isn’t much financial impact to those who lost their homes.
On: If there is one thing this experience likely taught everyone who lived through it, it’s the importance of reading and understanding your insurance policy. Insurance does not necessarily cover every aspect of rebuilding, including costs like debris removal, and there are often time limits imposed for the completion of rebuilding.
Off: How long could it possibly take to rebuild, anyhow? If there are time limits, won’t those be met?
On: Rebuilding is dependent on several factors, including the availability of contractors and services to complete debris removal and the rebuild. With 2,400 structures lost, this is a monumental rebuilding effort, and the Wood Buffalo region is likely going to be looking at rebuilding efforts that take years, not months. That’s when those time limits could become an issue, as well as the potential financial strain on the home owners.
Off: But rebuilding has to be fairly straight forward for the home owner? I mean you just rebuild what you lost?
On: There are a variety of situations to consider in this community, like condos, semi-detached homes and detached homes – and each comes with specific challenges. In some cases zoning dictates what kind of home can be rebuilt, and in some cases speed and success of rebuilding will be very dependent on neighbours working together, such as in the case of semi-detached or duplex style homes.
Off: Are there even enough companies and tradespeople around Wood Buffalo to tackle this kind of rebuilding, then?
On: Admittedly, it is a very big job ahead – but we are incredibly fortunate to live in a region and province with large numbers of skilled tradespeople who are willing and ready to take on the challenge of rebuilding our community.
Off: Rebuilding is just all about construction, then?
On: Reconstructing the buildings we lost is really only one part of rebuilding our region after the devastating wildfire in May. Perhaps even more importantly this region will need to rebuild all those strong community ties and bonds that might have been damaged in the fire. The evacuation displaced tens of thousands of residents and interrupted lives for long periods of time, and this disruption has continued for those who lost their homes. Rebuilding our structures will take years, and so too will rebuilding those connections. In the same way that we intend to build even better houses than the ones we lost, we intend to build an even better community, one truly forged in fire. We might have lost a great deal in the wildfire, but we have a chance to rebuild ourselves as a stronger and even more connected community than before. Far more than rebuilding our structures, that will be the real challenge. But in Wood Buffalo, we don’t call things like that “challenges” – we call them opportunities!