Rebuilding Fort Mac homes could take four years
Fort McMurray wildfires destroyed nearly 3,000 homes a year ago..
It will take abut four years to rebuild the first 844 homes lost to the Fort McMurray, Alberta, wildfires in May 2016, according to a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
The construction is moving at a faster pace than forecast, the agency said.
“The rebuild has begun in earnest. So far, one-third of the buildings lost in the 2016 wildfires have begun reconstruction. The rebuild is expected to last three to four years,” said CMHC market analyst Tim Gensey.
The report - Rebuilding Fort McMurray: One Year Later - noted there have been 785 housing starts in the first half of 2017, with the municipality predicting another 200 starts before year-end. The faster than-expected construction is because Fort McMurray has been bringing in workers from across the province, boosting its reconstruction capacity, according to CMHC.
Last November, CMHC had predicted a high of 700 starts in total for 2017, Gensey said.
“But what we've been seeing is that there's been labour coming in from around the province that's supported construction levels above what we forecasted in our 2016 housing market outlook.”
The 1,000 housing starts predicted to be underway by the end of 2017 represent more than a third of the total number of housing units lost to the wildfire.
Next up on the reconstruction calendar is central British Columbia, which has so far lost an estimated 50 homes, but a series of forest fires were still burning at press time. According to B.C. government fire officials, more than 35,000 residents on about 13,000 parcels of land are under either evacuation orders or alerts.
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