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Grand Forks residents rally, say they remain in limbo over post-flood buyout plan

Dozens of Grand Forks residents gathered on the 2nd Street bridge on Friday to protest a lack of information on a plan to buyout 89 homes either devastated by flooding in the spring of 2018 or set to be torn down because they’re on a flood pain that’s been deemed too risky to live on.

Extended interview with Grand Forks mayor
Extended interview with Grand Forks mayor

Signs carried by those lining the bridge sidewalk focused on getting fair market value.

Previous offers by the government have stated they’ll be compensated for post-flood property values, which could leave home owners $50,000 – $200,000 out of pocket, according to rally organizers.

They also shouted for immediate action on the issues.

“It’s been 19 months since the Grand Forks flood, and homeowners still have no answers,” rally organizer Jennifer Houghton said. “Approximately 80 homes are scheduled to be bought out and demolished.”

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READ MORE: Grand Forks announces new campaign, buyout option, for flood victims

The City of Grand Forks announced a consultant was being hired in November to begin assessing buyouts and to create a rebuilding plan for affected neighbourhoods.

Houghton said the financial burden of carrying the costs associated with the loss of homes and possessions in the floods has taken its toll on Grand Forks residents and Friday’s rally was an opportunity to vent about being “left in limbo.”

“Residents feel they have been left misinformed, uninformed, not consulted,” she said.

READ MORE: Mayor of Grand Forks, B.C., calls flood recovery buyouts ‘a serious issue’

Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor was visibly emotional as he greeted the angry residents outside city hall.

“What I’m wanting to clarify is that we are working within the bounds within what we can do,” he said.

“To me, it is a moral issue. It’s down to obligation and our ability to do anything.”

Residents started yelling at Taylor and city spokesperson Cavan Gates.

“Marriages are falling apart. Families are falling apart,” one protester could be heard shouting. “We need to get this resolved now.”