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

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Protection order issued after Bella Coola bear attack

Fruit trees to be removed after sow grizzly defended cubs and sent man to hospital

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

Greyhound to end bus service in B.C., Alberta

Company axing passenger bus and freight services in Prairies, and cutting all but one route in B.C.

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read