On Monday, the city’s Executive Committee discussed a plan to purchase three properties, lost to a river valley slide nearly fifteen years ago – using provincial disaster relief grant money.

Committee members looked into the more than $1.3 million plan to purchase the three properties, located on Whitemud Road in the Ramsay Heights neighbourhood, that were affected by the river bank slope failures  in 1999 – that eventually destroyed three homes.

Two of the homes slid into the river valley in October of that year, while a third had to be demolished.

The amount outlined doesn’t include the demolition costs incurred by the city at the time, and is not based on current market values of the properties, because the land can’t be redeveloped.

The decision to buy the land comes after an unsuccessful attempt by the landowners to sue the city and while the case went to trial, those claims were eventually dismissed.

After that, the three property owners went to the province, Alberta Municipal Affairs, to seek financial relief under the province’s Disaster Relief Fund – where the province agreed to put forward a one-time conditional grant to fund the city’s cost to by the properties.

The lawyer representing all three property owners said this latest move will put the more than decade-long saga behind his clients, and the city.

“What they are doing is not required by law,” Robert White, legal representation for the homeowners said Monday. “It is a true act of moral integrity that we can respect.

“Some councillors were worried, ‘what will other people say? These rich guys are getting money back for their houses’, but your home is your home, and they lost everything.

“That was their retirement.”

The province and the landowners negotiated the purchase price for each property, and was based on the amount claimed in each owner’s litigation with the city, minus demolition costs, taxes and penalties incurred by the city.

While it’s not possible for the city to redevelop the land, officials will look into ways to landscape or stabilize the land once it’s been purchased.

The Executive Committee passed the recommendation outlined in the official report – that City Council move forward with buying the property.

The province has passed the total $1,346,620 onto city officials, who have until March 31 to use it to buy the land.