A demolition crew takes down a building at the corner of Fifth Street and 69th Avenue Monday, Dec. 20. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

A demolition crew takes down a building at the corner of Fifth Street and 69th Avenue Monday, Dec. 20. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Grand Forks’ dikes to start soon but won’t be finished before freshet, says city staff

Construction schedules impacted by widespread flooding in November 2021, council hears

Heavy construction will start next month along downtown Grand Forks’ upcoming dike, according to city staff’s latest DMAF update.

The dike won’t be finished ahead of the spring freshet, but the downtown core and North Ruckle will be protected from potential flooding, project manager Ben Stevens assured Grand Forks’ committee of the whole (COTW) Monday, Feb. 14.

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Fencing is up at City Park and parts of downtown, where Chandos Construction (Chandos) and its subcontractors are set to begin their work in mid-March.

The downtown dike will be the second of five major works designed to guard against flooding on the scale of the May 2018 freshet, which inundated much of downtown and virtually all of North Ruckle to the south. The dike, also known as Work Package 1, is estimated to cost around $11.6 million provided under the city’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) agreement with the federal and provincial governments, according to a staff memo reviewed at Monday’s COTW.

Thirteen homes are on schedule to come down along the dike alignment — 11 in North Ruckle and two downtown, Stevens told The Gazette, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Crews are fast removing hazardous materials from some of those homes, including asbestos.

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A map by city staff shows completed and upcoming home demolitions in North Ruckle. Graphic: Staff Memo

A map by city staff shows completed and upcoming home demolitions in North Ruckle. Graphic: Staff Memo

All hazardous materials removed ahead of construction will be safely disposed of at the Regional District’s Granby Road landfill, Stevens said. Crews are meanwhile removing utilities from North Ruckle, where a second dike (Work Package 2) will also get underway in March.

The city had hoped to finish the downtown dike by April 30, but Flood Mitigation Program (FMP) staff have pushed that timeline ahead. To some extent, the delay can be attributed increased demand on construction materials and expertise following last November’s devastating floods across Southeastern B.C., Stevens said.

But Stevens FMP staff have allowed for a “six-week hiatus” in Chandos’s construction schedule, when crews “would be at (the city’s) disposal” should spring flooding threaten downtown or North Ruckle.

Potential flooding aside, parts of the downtown dike will go up along temporary access roads built in the Granby and Kettle rivers near the Highway 3 bridge and between City Park and the Second Street Bridge, where Stevens said flood walls can’t be installed from above the shoreline.

Fish will be diverted from these stretches of riverbed as water is displaced by the emerging roads, he explained Tuesday.

The first major DMAF project wrapped up in the spring of 2021, when city contractor Argosy Construction shored up a section of Kettle River shoreline in Johnson Flats.

The city has emergency flood contingencies in place for South Ruckle, according to Graham Watt, Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Flood Recovery. South Ruckle is much less likely to flood in a typical spring freshet because the neighbourhood stands at a higher elevation than the low-lying and flood-prone North Ruckle.


 

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