The Flood Recovery Team hosted a community July 11. An overview of the recovery actions to date and the team leads was followed by an open question period.

Key contact numbers

Canadian Red Cross 1.800.863.6582

Economic Recovery Community Futures: 250.442.2722

Environmental Issues 250.442.4111

Critical Infrastructure, City Public Works: 250.442.8266

EOC and Housing and Unmet Needs 1.888.747.9119

Community Questions

Q. Now that the recovery system is up and running, how do businesses get into the process of getting support?
A. Community Futures Boundary will engage with the business community on more focus groups to identify impacts. We will be attaching bigger picture categories and dollar figures with some Provincial representation and engage sectoral businesses. CFDC will be reaching out and posting info when meetings are occurring.

Q. Who attends to the dike repair? Are we wasting our money fixing our homes, or should we wait? If dike is not repaired what is the plan?
A. A hydrologist has submitted a draft of study, needs review from other engineers, planners, etc., Public engagement to start to discuss the options.
A. The EOC had to do some emergency temporary work, and an engineer needs to assess to make sure it is up to permanent structure standard. Permit applications go in next week. We will have works to repair the dikes back to how they were before the event soon.

Q. I have already demolished and hauled away my debris. I am looking for guidance and direction in the rebuilding process. Who regulates locked in retirement accounts to withdraw return?
A. We recognize the gap, and we need to offer more support around rebuilds. No funding answers yet, requests are being submitted for funding, but no confirmation yet. It is important to get into system, so we can identify the needs and so we can help. Safe, warm and dry is the goal.

Q. Flood debris pickup, how long will it continue?
A. It is scheduled to end Monday, July 16th. Demolition is separate, see building inspection department for help with that process.

Q. Small businesses are falling through cracks. Do I have to keep waiting for funding? Can anyone help rental owners.
A. Rental property must be your primary source of income, if not, it precludes you for Disaster Financial Assistance eligibility. Please connect with DFA. If you have no funding, we hope under “unmet needs category” we can find some help.

Q. What about City Park, BMX Park, Johnson Flats, will there be dikes put in?
A. Every placement of a dike impacts other properties. We are gathering all engineering input, then after being informed of options, City Council decides for overall strategy. Process is fair, open and understandable, for all in grey areas and this process will include community planning functions, with public engagement.

Q. My address was incorrectly assessed for level of damage, what are steps to correcting that issue?
A. Connect with the Red Cross so we can get you into housing and unmet needs catchment. Call the housing and unmet needs phone number to see what other help may be available for you.

Q. Is the City going to charge for building permits?
A. Council is discussing cost of permits.

Q. I incurred some costs for electrical and building permitting, can I be reimbursed?
A. This question will be brought to council.

Q. Is there a plan for ground water removal? How can I prevent this from happening again?
A. The hydrological study will determine some options for ground water removal but it is extremely difficult to manage.

Q. If we go back to our houses, do we have to pay for hookup, electricity and gas?
A. You will have to ask the utilities providers if they are willing to waive fees. The City is considering waiving its portion of fees.

Q. Is there anything we can do to protect our property? Can we use rip rap?
A. Where rip rap is appropriate, it must be approved by a Ministry Section 11 Application, with an engineering report, and must get approval. It is not simple and not cheap.

Q. Many areas in Johnson’s Flat have no dikes. If dikes do get built, where would the funding come from, and would there be any funding?
A. With an existing dike that was damaged, there could be some funding. With an orphan dike that no one own and has always been there, there is not necessarily funding. The landowner who puts up a dike is the owner, and would fund repair. If there is a large area that needs to be done, there is a federal funding program funded by national disaster mitigation program. Access to this funding requires many steps that a local government must apply for.

Questions from Community Flood Impacted Advocacy Group

Q. There is conflicting info on HEAP. We need more clarification.
A. Red Cross: There are a number of factors used to assess for eligibility for the HEAP program. For those who do not qualify for HEAP, please return to the RED CROSS, so we can negotiate your needs and find the appropriate agency to support you, where possible. If you believe your placard was incorrectly placed and you have been denied funding, we can reassess, please return to Red Cross.

Q. Can you clarify how much funding has been disbursed, and if the government matched it?
A. Red Cross: No details at this time on the amount, and yes government matched it.

Q. What programs will funding be going into?
A. Whatever is leftover will be allocated by needs assessment, additional funding for people slipping through the cracks.

Q. Rumor that 80 MIL+ coming to Grand Forks, where is it coming from, how is it being distributed?
A. This is indeed a rumor.

Q. Housing needs – what are the avenues of help?
A. ESS (Emergency Social Services,) Emergency Response, Provincial government, have been accessible, however. ESS support has run out, HEAP is offered in place of the ESS. UNMET NEEDS Committee has been created to address housing issues and needs that are not eligible for HEAP. Multiple agencies are discussing housing needs. Proposal at draft stage, asking for provincial support to get support investing into rentals, flood damage repair etc. to build up what we already have.

Q. What will we do when water returns, what about slowing the water down, forestry issues, watershed issues, there is data indicating changes are needed to forestry practices. If forestry practices are a cause, how do we address this?
A. There is some evidence that forestry practices can cause some water issues, but that is only one factor that leads to flooding.

Q. Getting tradespeople is an issue, there are not enough. We need a trades camp, we need housing for trades people etc. Is there a way our group can coordinate with community groups to find solutions to inadequate housing needs?
A. Habitat for Humanity has been invited to become part of the solution. Our team is working to find a homemade in Grand Forks solution.

With bylaw changes, including more options for carriage homes, legal suites, etc. we can increase density in community neighborhoods, other options include small homes, coops, manufactured homes, etc. There is a strong show of support for homes to be provided at a lower cost. Seeking ways to get manufactured homes on land etc. We are seeking creative solutions to housing, including thinking outside the box, portable homes, carriage homes, suites etc.

Q. What about addressing environmental issues, are you going to address businesses in floodplain, with toxic items on the property. What about education around the floodplain, where to store, etc?
A. The amount of residue is minor given the amount of water it is dissolving in. A consultant is drafting a risk assessment for contamination.

Key recovery actions by category

Wellness and Unmet Needs

Recovery outreach to determine scope of residents requirements.

Create Unmet Needs committee to address emerging needs.

Implementing a case management model.

Economic

Working with the Downtown Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, BC Economic Development Association to plan the economic recovery and advocate for the business and agricultural sector.

Environmental

Current projects include the river study, in-stream debris management, and environmental quality survey of flooded lands.

Critical Infrastructure

Much of the damage was in the City of Grand Forks to infrastructure like roads, paths, sewer, and electrical. Also coordinating flood debris removal from buildings.

Housing

The biggest program is the needs assessment to quantify how many housing units are needed and developing a strategy to match people with places to stay.

Red Cross HEAP Program (Housing Emergency Assistance Program)

Red Cross will be here 3 to 4 months located in basement of the legion.

Some of the criteria informing application approval is the following:

  • Evacuation Order
  • Flood Level Map
  • DFA
  • Samaritans Purse Work Orders
  • Rapid Damage Assessment
  • Building Permits
  • Aerial photos
  • Site visit

If initially denied, contact the Recovery Team (888-747-9117) for help with reapplying as there may be options.