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City seeks multi-million dollar grant for flood recovery

The city will be applying for a grant that could inject $48 million into the community for multiple flood protection structures (dikes), bank stabilization and property acquisition. — Photo Creative Commons

The city could receive up to $48 million for ‘critical infrastructure’ related to the flood that decimated Grand Forks earlier this year.

With a successful grant application that will cost the city $250,000 for the development of planning and support documents, the City of Grand Forks could land the multi-million dollar Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund grant from the province.

The province has been in close contact since the city began developing the expression of interest for the money, and have iterated that they would be seeking to support the funding request.

An invitation was delivered to the city to proceed with a full grant application for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) after submitting an expression of interest in July.

The province has been working with the city and the regional district on recovery since the flood occurred in May. In a letter to city council in October from Premier John Horgan he said the province has been working to address “some of the most pressing issues” to come out of the flooding.

He noted that the province has provided over $10 million in recovery funding over and above the response funding provided for Grand Forks.

In addition, BC Housing has begun construction on two housing projects in the city, including a six-bed women’s transition house and three Habitat for Humanity houses.

The province is also planning two additional affordable housing projects: a 50-unit affordable housing project for families and a 50-unit supportive housing project for people at risk of becoming homeless.

Horgan said he designated parliamentary secretary Jennifer Rice to work with the city and regional district “on carrying out resilience and recovery efforts going forward.”

“It’s a helping hand from the minister to help us through some difficult doors that we need to keep open,” said Mayor Brian Taylor about the appointment of Rice.

“I think at this point we are appreciative of (Horgan’s) attention to this and the assignment of this person to be our helper.”

The full grant application will require a much more developed proposal that includes engineering, archeological assessments, First Nations engagement and detailed cost estimates.

“The work being proposed would have to be undertaken for any future grant applications or capital planning regardless of the DMAF application outcome,” read a city staff report to council.

The scope of the grant includes multiple flood protection structures (dikes), bank stabilization and property acquisition for the project.

The city approved the amount for grant application while it continues to pursue other avenues of recouping the cost. The initial request is that the money for the grant application would come from city reserves.

“In pursuing funding from other avenues, a request for funding will be submitted to the RDKB for the proportional costs associated with the work to be completed outside of the city,” the report read.