The canoe was ready, but David Calnan hoped he wouldn’t need it this time around.
When the last “good one” three years ago caused $20,000 damage to their basement, the rising waters of the Elbow River forced the Calnan family to tie their canoe to the back deck of their Rideau Road SW home, with life-jackets and paddles poised in case of a need for a hasty retreat.
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While he thought there was just a 20 per cent chance of a repeat performance yesterday as the Elbow again had consumed 20 feet of their backyard, they weren’t taking any chances this time either.
“The canoe is there, it’s ready,” Calnan chuckled, noting the family emptied out their basement Saturday night as the river swelled up to six inches an hour. “The kids have a lot of fun with it, it adds a little excitement to their lives, but on the downside, you might have to do some repairs to your basement, that’s the price we pay for living where we do.”
“There’s not a lot you can really do,” added his wife Dinah.
“You’re not going to see us weeping out on the front lawn,” he said.
High River was put under a state of emergency, its residents advised not to sleep in their basements yesterday, as more than 2,000 sandbags were set up along Riverdale Ave. and Rideau Rd. to mitigate the impending swell, which was expected to raise the water tables, flood basements and back-up sewers in Calgary’s low-lying areas.