Grand Forks city council has approved a special permit to move North Ruckle homes onto a hillside on the northwest end of town.
The homes will be among the first to be moved through the city’s partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), which hopes to relocate around 10 homes from the flood-ravaged neighbourhood, according to the city’s manager of strategic initiatives, Graham Watt.
The permit covers two homes bound for city-owned lots near the intersection of McCallum View and Columbia drives, council heard Monday, March 28. The OIB needed council’s approval because the lots fall within 15 metres of the top of the hillside, which bears a slope of more than 30 per cent.
When the permit came up for discussion at chambers, Coun. Chris Moslin read from a staff-reviewed report that said an underlying marsh was in bad shape. Watt later clarified that that particular portion of the report had been cut and pasted from a 2011 version of Grand Forks’ Official Community Plan (OCP).
“The marsh is in a far better condition than the original OCP says,” Watt said.
The plan’s statement that, “The condition of this wetland is poor at present,” instead reflects a 2007-2008 planning study Watt said was “outdated” and “very limited.”
The report was compiled from a host of civic legislation, including the current OCP, such as it appears on the books, he explained.
The OIB’s move is supported by two geotechnical assessments and a registered biologist’s report. The homes should stay on their foundations and the on-site excavations are unlikely to disturb the marsh if contractors follow geotechnicians’ recommendations, according to a site plan attached to Monday’s council agenda.
Watt said the OIB expects to move the McCallum View Drive homes in early April, adding that crews have started preparing the site.
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a 2007-2008 environmental report had found the marsh to be in “poor condition.” In fact, the report came from a planning study, according to Graham Watt.