As flood preparations get underway in Grand Forks, many residents face an uncertain future

Flood remediation is well underway along the banks of the Kettle River in Grand Forks, one dump truck load at a time on this first day of spring.

Crews are working in the South Ruckle area, where the river breached, destroying dozens of homes.

“At the height of the flood, there was a small amount of water coming over the surface here,” said Graham Watt from the City of Grand Forks. “But as you go back into South Ruckle, the water was eight to 10 feet deep.”


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Evidence of the damage from last year’s flood is everywhere. Foundations are all that remain of some houses hit by high water.

“And there’s another 20 or 30 houses that have basically been abandoned,” said Watt.

To prevent a repeat of last year’s disaster, crews are reinforcing 300 meters of river bank in the South Ruckle area.

It’s going to take  alot of rock to shore up this section of the Kettle River –30,000 tons of rock. That works out to 3,000 dump truck loads.

Muriel Neale lives along the Kettle River. She watches the dump trucks pass by her house every day and couldn’t be happier to see them.

“It’s amazing. It’s wonderful to watch to see it progress every day,” said Neale. “They start at seven in the morning and work until five in the afternoon.”

But there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done, including finding homes for the residents who lost everything.

The mayor of Grand Forks says there are several residents whose future in in the city remains uncertain as they wait for provincial funding — promised last year — to arrive.

“There’s an expectation growing that some of these places will be bought out or at least people will be compensated in some way,” said mayor Brian Taylor.

And it could be a long wait for those displaced by the great flood. Taylor says affected residents, many now living in trailers on their property, won’t see any movement from B.C. Housing until at least September.

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