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Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

An erosion control project is nearing completion in Johnson Flats, where the Kettle River had threatened to wash away six homes near the intersection of 19th Street and 61st Avenue.

The $1.5 million project is the most technically challenging and time-sensitive of five related works under the city’s broader Flood Mitigation Program, project manager Justin Dinsdale told The Gazette Friday, April 16.

Construction got underway over the Easter long weekend, roughly a week after project partners at the Osoyoos Indian Band helped to secure provincial permitting. Crews have placed an estimated 5,000 cubic metres of quarried stone into a 300-metre stretch of area riverbed since April 3, leaving an earthen shield against increasingly rapid erosion by the under-flowing Kettle, Dinsdale explained.

The project comes as a godsend to area residents like Les Molnar, who said the river washed away more of his shoreline property last year than in the devastating freshet of 2018.

“We’re really excited at the work that they’ve done here,” he said, crediting Dinsdale and senior planner Graham Watt.

“I think we’re in good shape as a community, knowing that we’ve got leaders like that that are doing the job.”

Dinsdale said the city’s general contractor, Argosy Construction Group (ACG), was on track to finish the project at around $100,000 under budget by May 3. On a personal level, Dinsdale said he hoped the project would go a long way to heal the psychological trauma left in the wake of 2018.

“We’re no longer the community of the flood,” he said, adding, “this puts ‘the freshet’ in our rear-view mirror.”

The construction dovetailed efforts to safely relocate fish away from the shoreline, Dinsdale explained.

The city’s Flood Mitigation Program is funded by the provincial and federal governments’ $51 million Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund, popularly known as DMAF.



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(L-R) Coun. Everett Baker, Capital Program Manager Justin Dinsdale, general contractor Calvin Lamontagne, Coun. Chris Moslin and senior planner Graham Watt met The Gazette at a flood mitigation project at 19th Street and 61st Avenue Friday, April 16. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Argosy Construction Group operators used special technology to guide their buckets into the Kettle River during the building of the 19th Street erosion project. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Capital Project Manager Justin Dinsdale estimated that 5,000 cubic metres of quarried stone went into the 19th Street erosion project. Photo: Laurie Tritschler