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Alberta town hard hit by flood lets one neighbourhood return to natural state

An Alberta town hit hard by flooding last spring has decided to buy out one neighbourhood and leave it undeveloped.

High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass says council has agreed with engineers to let the neighbourhood of Wallaceville return to its natural state.

Snodgrass says doing this will also protect the rest of the community.

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The mayor says Wallaceville was one of the hardest hit areas of the June flood because it sits at a critical choke point along the Highwood River, and it has repeatedly flooded.

Reiley McKerracker, manager of engineering for High River, says in order to protect Wallaceville, a 3.2 metre-high dike would have to be built around it.

He says the feasibility of doing that was questionable.

The properties to be included in the Wallaceville naturalization are those contained between Lineham Canal and the main channel of the Highwood River along and east of Centre Street.

Valuation of the properties in the neighbourhood will be based on 2013 municipal tax assessments. Details on the property purchase program are being finalized and will be available in January.

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