Skip to main content

Grand Forks, B.C. state of local emergency rescinded

Residents in Grand Forks, B.C. are feeling optimistic Sunday, as the state of local emergency has been rescinded thanks to peaking flood waters.

34 families were told they could return home Sunday, while 40 evacuation orders remain in effect.

“There is nothing worse for a mayor to tell someone, you’ve got to get out of your house,” said Grand Forks mayor Everett Baker.

Despite parts of the community still visibly flooded, primarily in the Johnson Flats neighbourhood, officials say the damage is not nearly as bad as 2018 when 95 homes were destroyed due to flooding.

“We’ve been able to create a flood mitigation in the downtown core, and it was devastating in 2018, and today it’s dry,” said Baker. “Today was a good test and I’m pleased to say it was successful.”

"After 2018, Grand Forks went out and sought out grant funding to build large-scale mitigative measures, and fortunately those measures have come in to play this time and protected residents,” said Mark Stephens, the manager of emergency programs with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Kevin Lennox lives in Grand Forks, and knows the effects of flooding all too well.

“Down in North Ruckle, in 2018 that was the big flood and we didn’t lose the house to the flood, we lost the house to expropriation actually,” he said. “We’re hoping it’s not going to be as bad as 2018, there’s been a lot of diking the city has done since then.”

Water levels have continued to crest in communities fighting similar flood waters. According to the mayor of Oliver, a town in the South Okanagan, the river is also starting drop.

"I have not seen this creek flood like this, it comes up with runoff but not to the point that it did yesterday. It just goes to show that rain and warm temperatures are the perfect scenario for flooding,” said Martin Johansen, the mayor of Oliver.

Hundreds in the interior and southeast parts of B.C. are already under evacuation order, with many more on alert.

According to the B.C. River Forecast Centre, affected areas will remain vulnerable throughout next week as the snow from up north continues to melt.

"We're still early for the big rivers, like the Fraser river, the Thompson river, those tend to peak a little bit later in the season so we're anticipating to watch those closely over the coming weeks,” said Dave Campbell, the head of B.C. River Forecast Centre.

Early next week, a provincial analysis of the snow melt is expected. Experts say it will provide more clarity on the future of flooding this spring. Top Stories

Stay Connected