The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has received some good news regarding the aftermath of floods in the region last spring after BC Premier John Horgan gave written assurance from that the Province of BC is committed to flood recovery in the Boundary.
In a media release the RDKB said Horgan's letter announced that Parliamentary Secretary Jennifer Rice has been designated to work with the RDKB and the City of Grand Forks on flood recovery and to report directly to Premier Horgan on progress to achieve flood recovery objectives.
“Parliamentary Secretary Jennifer Rice has proven a champion for our community. I’m thrilled that she’s officially on board to help us navigate creation and delivery of recovery solutions for the Boundary residents,” said Roly Russell, RDKB Board Chair.
Russell said in the release that the RDKB sought to make sure the provincial government understood the strains on local efforts to recover from the 2018 flood and delivered that message to the Premier at the Union of BC Municipalities Conference (UBCM) in Whistler this past September.
“Both local and provincial governments want solutions that are permanent, healthy and financially responsible, and we need dialogue to build new tools to deliver that. We asked specifically for a cross-ministry political point of contact. By the time we had boots back on the ground in Grand Forks, we had that commitment from John Horgan.”
The RDKB Board has seven strategic objectives for the Boundary Flood Recovery:
1. Protect Public Safety
2. Foster and Improve Health and Wellness and Support Housing Recovery
3. Deliver Permanent Solutions
4. Facilitate Economic Revitalization
5. Facilitate Environmental Resilience and Adaptation
6. Engage Community and Stakeholders
7. Ensure Equitable, Fair and Reasonable Decisions
The joint Provincial-Red Cross Household Emergency Assistance Program (HEAP) and a separate hotel program funded by the Province are helping people in Grand Forks and the Boundary with essential housing, food, utilities and transportation support. Over 100 people are still out of their homes, and while about a dozen households have qualified for HEAP funding, those who haven’t qualified are struggling to find ways to pay for costs related to accommodation such as winterizing their RVs or other temporary housing options that will see them through the winter. About 10 residents have chosen to stay in hotels as part of the provincial program instead of applying for HEAP. Residents who qualify can subscribe to one of the two programs but not both.
The Boundary Flood Recovery Team will hold its next community update meeting on November 21 at 6 p.m. in the Grand Forks Secondary School Bistro.