Evacuation orders rescinded for 175 properties in Boundary
Nearly 350 people in Grand Forks, Electoral Area D, Christina Lake, Midway and Area E are free to return to their homes or businesses today shortly after rapid damage assessors inspected their properties and rescinded 175 evacuation orders. The majority of properties assessed were in the City of Grand Forks.
Several hundred homes evacuated due to loss of road access after flooding will also have their orders rescinded once access is restored. These homes do not require damage assessments (RDA) and owners will not see assessment placards on their doors. Even in areas where floodwaters caused little to no damage, evacuation orders can only be rescinded once properties have been verified as safe to occupy.
Rapid damage assessments continue today with the goal of completing nearly all assessments by May 21.
“We are now completely focused on getting as many people as possible back home and back into their businesses as soon as it’s safe for them. The stress has been enormous for everyone, and getting home is the first of many steps toward recovering from this disaster,” said Roly Russell, chair of the RDKB board of directors.
In a span of 53 hours between May 18 and 19 the RDKB mobilized, trained and deployed 20 RDA teams in the region. Those teams were able to assess 387 addresses in three hours on May 19 using a mobile inspection report that was then uploaded in real time to a GIS-based mapping system in the EOC. Planners are required to verify that data against existing records to ensure orders are rescinded for the correct properties. Previous floods have required cumbersome paper-based inspections carried out by a small number of building professionals. This new system will allow the RDKB to inspect structures and get the majority of people back in their homes where it is safe to do so by the end of the day May 21.
“The City of Grand Forks is working closely with the RDKB to restore access to downtown businesses. We all know the business community and want to see them recover as quickly as possible,” said Grand Forks Mayor Frank Konrad.
Waters could rise again later in the week if we receive heavy rain, so the RDKB encourages Boundary residents to keep sandbags in place until more high elevation snow has melted in the coming weeks.
The rising water level in the Kettle River watershed has also increased the risk of sloughing, erosion and bank instability in multiple locations across the Boundary. Thirty-nine addresses in the Grand Forks area have been issued hazard notices due to potentially unsafe riverbank conditions.
Anyone whose home is on a riverbank and who is concerned about riverbank stability should stay clear and report concerns to the Emergency Operations Centre 1-888-747-9119.