GRAND FORKS – The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has begun lifting evacuation orders on some properties after cooler temperatures and less rainfall spared the area from an expected second surge of catastrophic flooding last week.
The regional district has rescinded evacuation orders on 175 properties in Boundary and 415 properties at Christina Lake.
About 20 damage assessment teams are going door-to-door, putting placards on homes with minimal or no damage that they deem safe to return to.
“We have 47 firefighters that have been trained Thursday night and Friday night to do rapid damage assessment on all the structures and businesses,” says Dan Derby with the district “Our goal is to end of day Monday have as many people home as possible.”
About 1000 properties remain on evacuation order across the Boundary region which means about 2000 people are still out of their homes.
Derby admits not everyone will get good news “There are some people that are not going to be home for a long time and some of them because of access, some of them are because of erosion.”
Grand Forks Mayor Frank Konrad says the city is working closely with the regional district to restore access to downtown businesses as quickly as possible.
The regional district warns that waters could rise again later in the week if there is heavy rain, so it encourages residents to keep sandbags in place until more high-elevation snow has melted in the coming weeks.
- Canadian Forces members begin helping out in flooded B.C. communities
- Sandbags can now be removed from some Okanagan properties
- Lake levels reach historic high, could rise even more
Over in the Central Okanagan, crews say the lake has hit full pool and is predicted to reach levels similar to last year in the coming weeks.
“Full pool” is the target set by the provincial government to ensure there is enough water supply through the summer.
Private property owners who experienced flooding last year are being encouraged to take extra precautions to protect their properties.
Boat launches throughout Okanagan Lake are open, but boaters are being warned about the high lake levels and to watch for floating debris
Meantime, hundreds of residents along BC’s Lower Fraser have been ready to leave their homes, but so far many have been lucky to escape flooding.
Ginger Sherlock, Langley’s emergency program co-ordinator, says that so far water levels have not risen as high as expected.
“We were prepping in case we needed to evacuate people, but we got good news yesterday that the levels were not as high as anticipated. So that was good news, right? Nobody wants to be displaced.”
She adds officials are now monitoring dikes and have sandbags ready, but have not had a need to use them yet.
“We were hoping and crossing our fingers and toes that Mother Nature continues to be cooperating with us for the next couple of weeks.”