A berm damaged in the 2018 flood lets water flow into Johnson Flats on May 19.                                 (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

A berm damaged in the 2018 flood lets water flow into Johnson Flats on May 19. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Six homes ordered to evacuate early Tuesday morning in Grand Forks due to flooding

Two of the six were put on evacuation alert Monday evening

A dozen people from six homes in the Johnson Flats neighbourhood of Grand Forks were ordered to evacuate at 1:30 a.m. on May 19, after water from the Kettle River breached a damaged dike in the southwest corner of the neighbourhood and allowed the current to flood northeast over several properties and across Beatrice Road.

Of the six properties on Beatrice Road, two were put on evacuation alert late on May 18. The other four did not receive such a warning, said Mark Stephens, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s emergency operations manager.

Some groundwater is to be expected in Johnson Flats, when there’s a higher-than-average spring melt. A river current breaking over the low-lying ground when the Kettle River is flowing at that level (approximately two feet lower than in 2017) though, is not – unless protective measures are damaged.

The suspect dike at the southwest end of Johnson Flats, residents say, has existed for well over a decade and was damaged in the 2018 flood. According to a provincial spokesperson, the structure in question “is most likely an orphan dike,” meaning that it was likely constructed under emergency circumstances before and is not monitored by a diking authority. While the province said that the adjacent property owner is not responsible for maintaining the structure, it asks that “local emergency plans should address any specific risks that may be associated with these works.”

The owner of the property directly behind the dike told The Gazette that local officials had visited the site in 2019, but no on-the-ground work has happened since.

Frances Maika, a spokesperson for the RDKB, said that replacing the damaged structure to protect Johnson Flats is more complex than just filling in the gap.

“It’s not as simple as that,” Maika said. “Anything you do on the river impacts another area, so this is a dynamic, complex, hydrologically sophisticated problem, and it’s not one that’s going to be easily solved.”

The province also said that any new flood protection works to repair the damaged area will take some time.

“Any dike constructed in this location would need to be undertaken by an approved diking authority,” a spokesperson said, “because it would provide flood protection to more than one property.”

Clayton Kube, who moved into his Johnson Flats house just a week before it sustained thousands of dollars of damage in the 2018 flood, owns one of the structures in the neighbourhood that were impacted by the water last week. No matter whose responsibility it is to protect his and his neighbours’ properties, he said, one thing’s clear: “Something should be done with that [dike].”

The latest publicly available plans for Grand Forks’ flood mitigation works do not indicate that the damaged dike will be dealt with through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) money that the city received last June.

Water levels falling slowly

In a May 22 statement, the RDKB said that current river forecasts show the Kettle River staying around a one- to two-year return level, but low-lying areas may still be vulnerable as rain and warmer weather is projected to drive high-elevation snowmelt throughout the watershed this week.

All 14 properties put on evacuation alert in the Manly Meadows and Johnson Flats areas last week will stay under alert until the threat of flooding has passed, the RDKB said.

Read more: RDKB issues evacuation alerts for 7 properties on Manly Meadows Road in Grand Forks

Read more: Sandbags and sand available for Boundary residents as river levels rise


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Sgt. Darryl Peppler said Mounties are continuing their investigation after Tuesday’s raid. File photo
Grand Forks RCMP arrest suspected drug traffickers at city motel

Police say they netted “a sizable amount” of money and suspected drugs following Tuesday’s arrests.

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Fruitvale woman charged with impaired driving in 2019 crash that killed 2 teens

A 15-year-old boy and 18-year-old woman, both from Fruitvale, died in the crash that sent the vehicle into the river

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

An advance poll was held at Grand Forks’ gallery2 Wednesday, Nov. 25. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Hundreds vote at Grand Forks’ advance byelection poll

Elections officials said voting had gone smoothly at the city’s art gallery

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Most Read