Grand Forks will be receiving nearly $50 million in funding for flood mitigation, federal and provincial representatives jointly announced on Wednesday.
One year ago, Grand Forks was flooded by spring thaws from the Granby and Kettle rivers, damaging scores of homes and businesses.
According to Infrastructure Canada, the funding will help protect Grand Forks and its citizens by reclaiming and repurposing property in the city’s most flood-prone neighbourhoods, moving residents to a safer area and constructing flood mitigation systems to better manage flood waters.
“This project will help protect families and their properties while also creating jobs and laying the groundwork for a strong sustainable economy and future for the community.”
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One project will involve reinforcing approximately 1,300 metres of river bank along the Johnson Flats channel, re-establishing a natural flood plain in North Ruckle and building new retention ponds in South Ruckle.
“Extreme weather is becoming more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive because of climate change,” said federal Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale.
“By investing in the infrastructure that protects our neighbourhoods, businesses, and families, we are building communities that can withstand future natural disasters and thrive for generations to come.”
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Also, more than 2.3 kilometres of road and trail dykes will be constructed or reinforced in strategic areas to manage flood waters within the city and by the railway tracks.
Infrastructure Canada says the federal government is investing $19.9 million, B.C. is spending $28.9 million with Grand Forks contributing $1 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adapation Fund.
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“We know that preparedness and mitigation is key to reducing the impact of natural disasters on our communities and improving recovery outcomes,” said B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
“That’s why I’m pleased our government is providing $28.9 million in natural and structural flood mitigation works as part of our continued support of the community and the people of Grand Forks in their efforts to recover from and rebuild after the devastating floods.
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“In partnership with the community of Grand Forks, we are also providing an additional $2.6 million toward a $3.1 million flood protection work project in downtown Grand Forks.”
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The mayor of Grand Forks, Brian Taylor, was thankful for the funding.
“We’ve come together to support the flood-affected residents of Grand Forks after the flooding in 2018,” said Taylor. “Despite the challenges, the resilience of our people has shown that we can and will recover.
“Thank you to the senior levels of government that continue to support our community with this new funding.”
The federal government says the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.