Image: Grand Forks Gazette

Grand Forks residents seek better buyouts

“All I want to come out of this with is what I had 15 months ago,” said one homeowner Aug. 29.

Residents whose properties form a key component of the city’s flood mitigation plans met with officials last Thursday at the River Valley Community Church to hear what the city had to offer in terms of in-kind options for buyouts.

With the city short approximately $6.6 million in grant monies that it would take to offer homeowners the values of their homes before the floods hit, the city has instead been weighing the value of offering serviceable city lots to people that can move their homes, and other types of support. But, many residents say, those sorts of solutions are inadequate.

“All I want to come out of this with is what I had 15 months ago,” said one homeowner at the Aug. 29 meeting.

Currently, said Jennifer Houghton, another resident in the buyout territory, “We’re talking about values where, in most cases, people won’t be able to replace what they had, but won’t be able to buy a property, period.”

“From our side,” said Grand Forks corporate officer Daniel Drexler at the meeting, “we are not optimistic that we will receive pre-flood values.”

Nevertheless, the city council has said that they will be meeting with provincial ministers this month to ask for more funding on behalf of residents. After a late-August meeting with B.C. Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth, Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson said that the minister expressed concern and would be responding to letters and a petition presented to him by Grand Forks buyout residents.

Raising taxes to

compensate

Some homeowners at the in-kind solutions meeting offered the option of raising local taxes to fund the estimated remaining cost. Like the parcel tax raised to pay for a fire truck – which was presented to land-owners as a $51.61 charge per parcel of land for five years. The vehicle’s cost was just over one million dollars.

In an emotional presentation to council on Tuesday, residents on the buyout list again made the case.

“You asked for pre-flood because you know it’s the right thing to do,” Dave Soroka at the committee of the whole meeting.

“Yes,” Coun. Neil Krog replied.

“Then why don’t you do the right thing now? Borrow the money and pay us what we’re worth.

“You keep telling us that the taxpayer wouldn’t sit still for that – you haven’t asked them yet.”

Any large borrowing plan, said Coun. Christine Thompson, would require a city referendum.

Residents on the buyout list say that the purchase plan is not about helping out residents who were hit by disaster. Instead, they put the buyout in with the overall plan for future flood mitigation, noting that their properties are slated to be used to divert flood waters away from other residents’ homes and businesses.

“As long as we’re not getting full replacement value along with costs associated to the move, we are being sacrificed,” said Houghton.

While some residents in the buyout zones are wanting to take a buyout and move, others at the Aug. 29 meeting urged the city to review its flood mitigation plan and evaluate whether a full buyout is necessary.

Just Posted

Trail Transit drivers to get more security

Full driver doors coming for 12 public transit buses

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share with Trail Times readers email editor@trailtimes.ca

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share with readers, email editor@trailtimes.ca

‘Two passengers,’ no driver in van detained by Trail police

Trail police detain van on Friday night, leads to 2 court dates

Update: Trail RCMP seize drugs, shotgun, and cash

Warrant in East Trail yields meth, fentanyl, heroin, gun and stolen property

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Most Read