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RDKB declares state of emergency for entire Boundary as river levels rise

File photo of 2018 flooding i May 2018

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board of Directors has declared a State of Local Emergency for the entire Boundary region including the electoral areas C/Christina Lake, D/Rural Grand Forks and E/West Boundary as well as the municipalities of Grand Forks, Greenwood and Midway.

Under B.C.’s Emergency Program Act, when a State of Emergency is declared, it provides the RDKB’s Emergency Operations Centre greater flexibility to access resources and respond efficiently to the imminent threat of widespread flooding across the region. This includes the installation of temporary flood protection works planned for this weekend across the Grand Forks area. Residents are advised to stay well clear of any ongoing flood protection activities and to expect traffic disruptions or changes.

On May 28, the BC River Forecast Centre issued a Flood Watch for the Boundary Region including the Kettle River, West Kettle River, Granby River and tributaries. This means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bank-full. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.

Environment Canada has issued a Special Weather Statement that forecasts strong thunderstorms with frequent lightning and very strong wind gusts Saturday and Sunday. Heavy rain may accompany these storms and widespread rainfall will accompany the low-pressure system Saturday night and Sunday which may strain local rivers.

“Our board has declared this local state of emergency to support the response effort to what may be a very serious flooding event. We ask that everyone in the Boundary pay close attention to any information from the EOC and sign up to receive emergency alerts,” said Diane Langman, RDKB Board Chair.

To register for the RDKB Emergency Alerting System go to https://ca.voyent-alert.com/vras/user-registration.html.

For more information about how to prepare for the 2020 freshet, visit emergency.rdkb.com/Be- Prepared.

Sandbags and sand are currently available for residents in the following locations free of charge:

• Beaverdell behind the Fire Hall

• Westbridge Hall

• Riverside Centre in Rock Creek

• Grand Forks Arena

Residents must bring their own tools and equipment (shovels, transportation) and respect a physical distance of two metres (six feet) between workers as they fill sandbags. Anyone at risk of flooding should stay informed about local freshet conditions, and ensure they have considered plans for moving valuable items, livestock or other items to safe locations if required.

The RDKB warns everyone to stay away from the edges of watercourses and report any erosion or flooding to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

The RDKB will continue to update the public as new information is available.