NEWSLETTER May 29, 2018

    The flood in the Grand Forks area is over and now the painful reckoning of the damage is the game.

Vancouver Sun May 26, 2018:

“Emergency personnel in Grand Forks say the recovery process has begun in the community of 4000, which was hard hit by this year’s flooding! Evacuation orders have been lifted for all but 12 properties in the community. Chris Marsh, head of the Regional District of Kootenay/Boundary’s emergency operations center, says those properties are concentrated along riverbanks where sloughing and slope instability remain a threat.”

Every property owner touched by the flood has received one of three colored bulletins from the hired help who were truly full measure in mitigating the damage caused by the flood.

GREEN: INSPECTED- no restriction of use or occupancy.

YELLOW: Restricted Use- entry/occupancy and lawful use are restricted as indicated below

RED: UNSAFE- Do not enter or occupy

My wife and I received a green bulletin- No restriction of use or occupancy

Unfortunately our neighbors George Danish and Irini Makortoff were not so lucky. They both received a red bulletin. The pictures tell the story. Both houses received plenty of attention by the many helicopter flights monitoring the Kettle River.

Time has compromised George’s health so I asked Katie Minder, George’s immediate neighbor how much land did he lose to the Kettle River. Her answer was dramatic. There were two trucks, two tractors, a quad bike and a few dirt bikes parked between the house and the edge of the drop- off, a 50 ft. steep gravel slope that touches the Kettle River, all vehicles disappeared into the river.

Irini Makortoff, two properties up river from George has a smaller but none the less a serious erosion problem. A reminder that if your property touches the inside arch of the river as it changes direction as both George’s and Irini’s property does, you have the potential for a serious erosion problem.

The real issue is the width of Irini’s property from the edge of the pavement to the Kettle River. In other words why would Regional Government Zoning Regulations allow construction of a house on a lot that has absolutely no protection from erosion in the event of a serious flood?

Will the question of zoning regulations that allow construction of a house on a flood plain be part of the debate when assessing why the foundation of a new house in Manly Meadows east of Grand Forks has shifted resulting in a total loss of the house?

The Kettle River takes a serpentine direction in the Grand Forks area, a point easily made if you get a vantage point on the Gilpin Grasslands. The Granby River which enters the Kettle within Grand Forks City limits tends to flow in a southern direction from the 28 Mile Bridge north of Grand Forks where the Burrell Creek enters the Granby. One big exception is the direction of the Granby River as it flows adjacent to Rick Friesen’s property approximately 8 KM on the North Fork Road north of Highway #3.

The Granby River flows south and then makes a short sharp turn east and quickly resumes its southern journey resulting in the inside arc of the river grinding and tearing Rick’s property resulting in a new main channel. In other words Rick’s house is now on an island.

The Kettle River May 2017 was the highest the river had been since we moved here June 1978. Our marker is the gravel road we use to access our barn on the flood plain adjacent to the Kettle River.

When it was announced early April that the snow pack in our part of the province was 154% of normal then my son and I correctly assumed the river would be two feet higher than last year. Unlike most property owners on the flood plain, my son, Bear moved every bit of equipment, machinery and material of value onto higher ground.

Is the Grand Forks flood of May 2018 a once in a century event as described in the Grand Forks Gazette or is this the new paradigm/model? If the weather pattern in our part of the world the last three years continues then it is a given fire and flood will continue to be our unwelcome companions.

Barry Brandow Sr.

 

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