Just over a year ago the Boundary Region of BC experienced some of the worst flooding in modern BC history. Over 30 per cent of residents in the Boundary Region were affected in some way by the flood. Many lives were changed forever by the high water in early May 2018.
Over the past 14 months, funding and support has come from all levels of government and support organizations. Local governments and community groups have supported flood affected residents and businesses in their recovery from extensive damage caused by the high water. Non-profit groups such as the Canadian Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and Mennonite Disaster Service as well as local faith-based support groups have provided incredible support to flood affected communities, and continue to do so where they can. Provincial and federal agencies and ministries have provided significant resources and support to the recovery. Local governments have provided staff, resources and funding where possible to help residents and businesses recover.
The recovery phase of emergency management is transitioning back to prevention and mitigation. Life after the flood will never be the same for many, but it is important that we move from looking backward at the event that caused us hardship, to a rebuilding phase. Making sure individual flood recovery plans are in place is an important step in returning to a sense of normalcy.
In many cases, recovery activities that could be completed, have been completed. These include emergency repairs to critical infrastructure and projects undertaken to remove non-natural debris from the river systems. Support for our small business partners has been provided where possible and any opportunities for further support have been examined and exhausted. Programs to support planning work for property owners who need to repair damaged river banks are coming to a close, and immediate housing recovery programs are either well underway or are wrapping up. Outreach and community wellness programs will remain underway – until external funding sources for these programs are used up or additional funding can be found.
Many of the Boundary Flood Recovery team staff are now transitioning to their original roles or have taken new roles after their temporary employment in flood recovery. As such, there are changes to the Boundary Flood Recovery support available to our communities.
Calls to the Boundary Flood Recovery office at (236) 570-2007 may not be answered immediately but there will be an option to leave a message. BFR staff will direct these inquiries accordingly. Many of our staff are now working remotely, and as such, access to the BFR office will be by appointment only. The BFR office may not be staffed at times.
Residents and businesses with questions regarding mitigation projects such as the Disaster, Mitigation and Adaption Fund or downtown flood mitigation projects are encouraged to inquire with their relevant local government as to the status of those projects. These projects are related to the mitigation of potential future flooding events and not a direct recovery effort, though the events of 2018 greatly influences these local government decisions.
Questions about land use planning, building inspection, and other local government services should be directed to the most relevant local or provincial government agency. Flood recovery case managers will continue to provide support for these issues through the summer.
Many mitigation and preparedness efforts continue. BFR manager positions are funded until mid-2020 and these staff will continue to advocate for and undertake flood mitigation and preparedness activities.
The BFR team commends the Boundary Region for their resilience, strength and support of their communities through these difficult times. The Boundary Flood Recovery team looks forward to seeing the work initiated in recovery carried forward into the mitigation and preparedness phases of emergency management.
For more information:
Chris Marsh, Deputy Recovery Manager – Boundary Flood Recovery