A stop sign in a flooded Grand Forks intersection May 17, 2018. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit live or manage properties damaged in the 2018 freshet. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jonathan Hayward)

A stop sign in a flooded Grand Forks intersection May 17, 2018. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit live or manage properties damaged in the 2018 freshet. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jonathan Hayward)

Grand Forks to wrap up flood buyout program

North Ruckle owners who have not accepted buyout offers by mid-June could face expropriation

City hall is renewing efforts to buy flood-damaged properties as Grand Forks’ Flood Mitigation Program (FMP) comes to an end, according to a city news release Wednesday, May 26.

The city designed the FMP in June 2019, when planners set out to buy around 100 North Ruckle properties inundated by massive flooding the previous May. Sixty-three owners have accepted buyout offers as of Wednesday. The city is currently in final negotiations with most of the remaining owners.

City council is meanwhile waiting until mid-June to resolve buyouts with “a small number of property owners (who) have yet to reach an agreement with the City,” the news release stated. Measures have been put in place to begin expropriating holdout properties after that point.

“I feel really badly for these people who are the last to sign off on this,” Mayor Brian Taylor told The Gazette.

“What we’re moving towards here is a reality that they’re not willing to face.”

“Expropriation is still very much a last resort. We’re still holding out hope that these owners will come to the table to reach a mutually agreeable settlement outside of the court system.”

To that end, the city said it will send “a reminder” to affected owners this week, restating its past offers to buy out their land. Buyout negotiations have been handled by the B.C. property appraisal and consulting firm Keystone, Inc.

Mayor Taylor declined to specify how many property owners have yet to accept buyout offers.

“I’d rather not mention that number, but it’s really small,” he qualified.

Taylor added that he hoped to resolve the remaining buyouts by the time council meets at chambers Monday, June 7.

— with files from Jensen Edwards


 

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City CouncilCity HallGrand ForksGrand Forks flood victims