Mike Farnworth meets members of the Grand Forks Fire/Rescue team on Sunday, May 13 in a visit to Grand Forks. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

VIDEO: Public safety minister visits Boundary flooding

Farnworth took a helicopter tour of the area Sunday.

Grand Forks and the Boundary should expect ongoing and long-term provincial assistance in rebuilding following what is being described as “catastrophic” flooding, according to public safety minister Mike Farnworth.

Farnworth, Minister for Public Safety also responsible for Emergency Management B.C., toured Grand Forks on Sunday and spoke to first responders, offering assurances that the Boundary would not be forgotten by the provincial government in the months ahead.

No commitments of a dollar amount were made public on Sunday, but the RDKB indicated on Saturday that a damage assessment was in progress.

Farnworth did a helicopter tour in the morning, followed by a media tour with first responders and members of Emergency Management BC. Later in the afternoon he met Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers.

Farnworth said he was shocked by the scenes in Grand Forks, and by the conversations he had with people/

“I met a man in the evacuation centre, he lost his home and his business,” Farnworth said. “You can’t begin to imagine the stress that places on people.”

“I have never seen anything like it,” he said.

Grand Forks mayor Frank Konrad, who has been criticized locally for lack of a public presence during the flooding, said on Saturday he had spoken with Horgan and, while Horgan did not commit to a dollar figure, gave him assurances the province was committed.

Konrad, as well as RDKB Area D director Roly Russell, were present with the minister on Sunday.

At the Grand Forks Fire/Rescue hall later in the day, Farnworth took questions from media and a small group of assembled residents.

Dan Derby, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) liaison and regional fire chief, said that from a planning perspective, the community is still in response mode.

“The forecast … is very concerning. We are in response, we are not out of this yet,” he said, adding that the heat and ensuing rain in the forecast “is going to take this catastrophic event and multiply it.”

In a statement issued Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said that disaster financial assistance was already being rolled out for flood victims in the Thompson-Nicola region. The RDKB has indicated plans to apply for disaster financial assistance.

Farnworth said from a recovery perspective, the flooding in Grand Forks could be considered “worse” than a wildfire.

“In many ways it is worse than a fire because a fire comes through and it burns everything clear, here, you have sewage, debris, cars underwater, stuff scattered, that is huge in itself,” Farnworth said. “Then there is infrastructure.

“There is a huge amount of work and it will take a long time. People need to know, there is the immediate assistance, but the province is going to be here for a long time in terms of the rebuild.”

Just Posted

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Grand Forks bantam team takes Nelson tournament

The team dominated the competition with some outstanding displays of skill and technique.

Donate to the Grand Forks and District Public Library

The library is undertaking significant washroom renovations.

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Most Read