Mike Farnworth meets members of the Grand Forks Fire/Rescue team on Sunday, May 13 in a visit to Grand Forks. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

VIDEO: Public safety minister promises long term help for flooded Boundary region

Farnworth took a helicopter tour of the area Sunday.

  • May. 13, 2018 8:40 p.m.

Grand Forks and the Boundary should expect ongoing and long-term provincial assistance in rebuilding following what is being described as “catastrophic” flooding, according to public safety minister Mike Farnworth.

Farnworth, Minister for Public Safety also responsible for Emergency Management B.C., toured Grand Forks on Sunday and spoke to first responders, offering assurances that the Boundary would not be forgotten by the provincial government in the months ahead.

No commitments of a dollar amount were made public on Sunday, but the RDKB indicated on Saturday that a damage assessment was in progress.

Farnworth did a helicopter tour in the morning, followed by a media tour with first responders and members of Emergency Management BC. Later in the afternoon he met Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers.

Farnworth said he was shocked by the scenes in Grand Forks, and by the conversations he had with people/

“I met a man in the evacuation centre, he lost his home and his business,” Farnworth said. “You can’t begin to imagine the stress that places on people.”

“I have never seen anything like it,” he said.

Grand Forks mayor Frank Konrad, who has been criticizes locally for lack of a public presence during the flooding, said on Saturday he had spoken with Horgan and, while Horgan did not commit to a dollar figure, gave him assurances the province was committed.

Konrad, as well as RDKB Area D director Roly Russell, were present with the minister on Sunday.

At the Grand Forks Fire/Rescue hall later in the day, Farnworth took questions from media and a small group of assembled residents.

Dan Derby, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) liaison and regional fire chief, said that from a planning perspective, the community is still in response mode.

“The forecast … is very concerning. We are in response, we are not out of this yet,” he said, adding that the heat and ensuing rain in the forecast “is going to take this catastrophic event and multiply it.”

In a statement issued Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said that disaster financial assistance was already being rolled out for flood victims in the Thompson-Nicola region. The RDKB has indicated plans to apply for disaster financial assistance.

Farnworth said from a recovery perspective, the flooding in Grand Forks could be considered “worse” than a wildfire.

“In many ways it is worse than a fire because a fire comes through and it burns everything clear, here, you have sewage, debris, cars underwater, stuff scattered, that is huge in itself,” Farnworth said. “Then there is infrastructure.

“There is a huge amount of work and it will take a long time. People need to know, there is the immediate assistance, but the province is going to be here for a long time in terms of the rebuild.”

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf will not sail until mid-July

BC Ferries had hoped to get the vessel in September of last year, but it didn’t arrive until December

UPDATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian finance minister’s update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet

5 things to know about B.C. Floods 2018

Snowpacks continue to melt causing thousands to be displaced, dozens of local states of emergency

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

PNE’s Summer Night Concerts by Village People, Lauper, Goo Goo Dolls, more

Mostly retro sounds at this year’s fair in Vancouver, starting Aug. 18

Notley to skip western premiers meeting today, but slams leader who’s there

Notley told reporters that B.C. Premier John Horgan is trying to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline

No suitors emerge for pipeline project stake as Kinder Morgan deadline looms

Analysts and observers remain perplexed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comment last week that “plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project”.

Energy wells plugged as Hawaii’s volcano sends lava nearby

A spike in gas levels could prompt a mass evacuation in Hawaii

Trump seethes over Russia probe, calls for end to ‘SPYGATE’

“SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!” Trump said on Twitter

Grads receive BC Transit passes

BC Transit provides passes to graduating students in more than 50 communities

Philip Roth, fearless and celebrated author, dies at 85

Literary agent Andrew Wylie said Roth died Tuesday night of congestive heart failure.

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

Most Read