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Flood risk now low in the Boundary Country

During the height of the 2020 freshet, the RDKB Emergency Operations Centre worked with the City of Grand Forks and BC Wildfire crews to install over three kilometres of Tiger dams in the Grand Forks area. Now the only evidence of those flood protection works are impressions in the grass, shown here on June 12 east of the 2nd Street Bridge near downtown Grand Forks. — Submitted photo

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary said in a media release Friday, the risk of flooding has abated and will continue in a downward trend over the coming weeks.

The RDKB Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) advises residents they can remove sandbags around homes or businesses.

The EOC will not collect sandbags, and instead encourages residents to do one of three things:

1. Store sand and sandbags for next year. If you have room on your property to store sand and sandbags for future freshet use, do so.

2. Reuse the sand for another purpose and compost or dispose of the bags. Sand is often a hot commodity. If you can use sand in home projects, do so. If not, reach out to your neighbours or friends. Burlap sandbags are compostable and once emptied and can go in green bins for collection. Plastic sandbags are not compostable and can go to the local landfill or into the garbage for pickup.

3. Dispose of full sandbags at the landfill. If you do not have space or a use for sand and absolutely cannot find anyone who does, you can bring sandbags to your regional landfill.

“After a long season, the 2020 freshet is finally winding down and I know that’s a relief for a great many people in the Boundary just as it is for our EOC staff and all our volunteers,” said Chris Marsh, Deputy EOC Director.

"However, the trend is for floods to continue to be frequent events in our region in the coming years. This is why we really encourage folks to keep the sand they now have on their properties for future use."

Roly Russell, RDKB Director for Electoral Area D / Rural Grand Forks said has once again been a very challenging year for our community.

"I am inspired by the resolve, courage and mutual support for neighbours that everyone has shown throughout the ups and downs of river forecasts and weather predictions this spring," Russell said.

"This is a wonderful community, and we will keep working collaboratively to find the level of safety, security and emergency preparedness that we all want and need."

Diane Langman, RDKB Board Chair said she knows many residents in the Boundary may be tired after facing a lengthy freshet while navigating a pandemic.

However, what she hopes is for all residents to know there's a chance to now enjoy the early days of summer.

"I will continue to work with our directors across our municipalities and electoral areas, our staff and our residents so we can continue to learn, listen to and act upon what residents tell us about their community’s needs during and after emergencies,” said Langman.

The RDKB Emergency Operations Centre is now operating at a Level 1 with several staff on duty to monitor creeks and rivers.

The RDKB warns everyone to stay away from the edges of watercourses and report erosion threatening homes or structures to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

“The City of Grand Forks is fortunate because we have a very knowledgeable and prepared citizenry, expert staff and excellent partners in the RDKB and Emergency Management BC," said Brian Taylor, Mayor of Grand Forks.

"What I have learned through each emergency we’ve faced in the past number of years is that we are a strong community and we will continue to be so in spite of challenges because we know how to cooperate and support one another.” 

For more information about how to prepare for emergencies, visit emergency.rdkb.com. To register for the RDKB Emergency Alerting System go to https://ca.voyent-alert.com/vras/user-registration.html.

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