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Evacuation orders for 18 properties in rural Grand Forks

Evacuations in order

The Regional District of Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has issued evacuation orders for multiple homes in the City of Grand Forks, due to the immediate threat of flooding from the Granby River. 

A total of 18 properties are now on evacuation order, affecting about 40 residents in rural Grand Forks after Environment Canada issued a Special Weather Statement for the Boundary.

Heavy rain continues to fall across the region, in addition to warm temperatures and thunderstorms, causing the Kettle River system to reach between a five-year and ten-year return level by the afternoon of June 1. 

More than 1,100 other properties remain on evacuation alert across the Boundary area, affecting a further 2,275 people, and low-lying properties in neighbourhoods such as Manly Meadows and Johnson Flats are considered high flood risk. 

No evacuation centres will be opened due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Instead, evacuees will be directly contacted by British Columbia Emergency Support Services and are encouraged to find a place to stay with friends or family. 

The RDKB has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Environment Water Stewardship Division to install temporary flood protection works in and around Grand Forks in expectation of high waters in the Kettle and Granby Rivers on June 1. 

These include Tiger Dams and earthen berms in some areas, including downtown Grand Forks. 

However, there are some neighbourhoods where the same temporary measures cannot be safely installed, including the Beatrice Street area of Johnson Flats.

“We have had professionals on site looking at the possibility of installing a variety of structures and have made the joint decision with provincial staff that the risks of back-watering, ground water and creating a whole new channel path for the river by installing anything on this site are too great. This is a very difficult site from a hydrological standpoint,” says Mark Stephens, EOC director.

“This is not a decision we take lightly and I know it is disappointing to local residents who have seen our equipment in their neighbourhood and were hoping to see some kind of dike or berm in place,” says RDKB director for Electoral Area D/rural Grand Forks, Roly Russell.

“We will meet with neighborhood residents soon to review the risks and benefits of the long term options available for Johnson Flats, and to collaborate on identifying future direction for what has been a really complex and frankly somewhat defeating challenge. I'm sorry we don't have simpler answers or a clearer path forward identified for everyone there, especially given that they are dealing with flooding so regularly,” says Russell. 

The RDKB continues to monitor all creeks and rivers, tracking BC River Forecast Centre models and Environment Canada weather alerts

An EOC call centre has been set up for Boundary residents and is staffed 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Residents can call the toll-free number at 1-800-747-9119. 

Any erosion and flooding can be reported to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

For more information, visit the RDKB emergency website

 



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