The recent flooding disaster affected not only residents but businesses as well. It’s a month on and a number of downtown businesses are still evacuated from their premises. Some will be able to return sometime during the summer once restoration work is done but others have a tougher and longer wait – with the worry that some of these buildings might have to be destroyed.
This creates a lot of anxiety and hardship because most businesses cannot go 3 months of interruption and still survive. So what can the business owners expect to happen? And what can the community do to help prevent losses and facilitate recovery?
It turns out that people here in Grand Forks have connections that lead to people who were part of the team that got High River, and its business community, back from its historic flood disaster 5 years ago. In their case over a thousand businesses had to be evacuated among the myriad of other issues facing them. But they persevered and as a result High River has been able to recover and be stronger (and better protected) than before.
Two of those people mentioned above happened to be attending something nearby in Kelowna. These are Angela Groeneveld and Todd Williams. From Angela’s bio:
Angela also has extensive experience in Business and Economic Disaster Recovery. She was on the ground through all phases of recovery experience combined with professional education to assist local businesses to recover and rebuild after natural or manmade disasters. Some of her projects include; building Canada’s first temporary business park to house businesses that lost their storefronts to the 2013 flood; transitioning the businesses through the phases of recovery. She was then called to share her expertise in partnership with EDA and Red cross to assist in the initial stages of business recovery during the Fort McMurray fire. Angela is a facilitator for the International Economic Development “restore your economy” training. Angela currently is working with the Puerto Rico Economic Development Director on business recovery and contracts to the Town of High River on the last phase of recovery.
Todd Williams was the Project Manager for all these projects and grants related to rebuilding and renewing the business community of High River.
They were able to change their schedule to visit Grand Forks and see for themselves the situation. They talked with some of the people in affected businesses, made connections with the local government and business support groups.
The Boundary country Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted this Open House for business owners so they could hear what Angela and Todd had to say and ask questions.
(please excuse the audio issues at the beginning of the meeting – it gets better)
On Friday April 10 the Boundary Environmental Alliance had a public info session with Biologist Mike Pearson who specializes in Aquatic and Riparian habitats.
Earlier in the day he was toured through some of the sensitive riparian zones in our area. Places like Lost Lake and the Gilpin. A number of people tagged along, amongst them local media and politicians.
The Riparian area is the space of land adjacent to the water. Around Lost Lake it is supposed to be fenced off but when we were there the fence on one side was in the water, not some distance from it as it should be.
Proper fish habitat goes hand in hand with the riparian zone. Good riparian zone promotes good fish habitat and poor riparian zone does the opposite. One of the questions the organizers had for Dr. Pearson was could the Gilpin Creek be a fish habitat? Could it support Cut Throat Trout? Could they make up from the river and through the culverts?
Dr. Pearson wondered if there might not already be some there. He advised any effort to begin with a count to see. A stretch above the highway has been fenced off and there are saplings that have been planted. But he pointed to the relatively straight run and remarked that for small fish it provided no shade, no variation in flow, no pools or resting spots. He said this was typical of a a stream in an area where the trees have been gone for a while. One suggestion to help improve aquatic fish habitat was to drop some lumber into the stream as would naturally happen. This would force the water to run under, over and around and that would sculpt out a shady pool of quieter water which fish like. Slower water means the fish aren’t spending as much energy staying in one place or going upstream.
Listen to what he has to say on the subjects of Riparian areas and Aquatic fish habitat.
This afternoon one of Canada’s premiere Olympic athletes, Clara Hughes, came to town.
Tied with Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals won by a Canadian, the only person to win multiple medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics, Officer of the Order of Canada – Clara isn’t content with resting on her laurels. She’s involved in humanitarian causes and doesn’t shirk from putting in effort in addition to adding her name.
This time she’s involved with Bell Canada bringing Clara’s Big Ride to town. That’s part of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign to open up the discussion on Mental Health issues and reduce the stigma associated with it. Having Clara Hughes speak about how it has affected her personally is helping convince others to also share their experiences and stories. And Talk about it.
Bell Canada is sponsoring this 110 day journey across this country of ours. Also sponsoring are Canadian Tire, BMO, Cisco, President’s Choice, Aimia, Lundbeck Canada and Samsung.
Around 2008 Dana Meise started following his dream … across Canada from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean and then to the Arctic ocean. On foot.
Since then he’s logged more than 15,000 Kilometers in summers spent continuing the walk across the big land of ours on the Trans Canada Trail. And this weekend he has arrived here in Grand Forks. He hopes to make it to Victoria this year and on to the arctic next year.
We caught up with him as he was ending the day’s walk just before the ‘official arrival’ at Grand Forks (that will be tomorrow). He was just east of town in the Nursery area waiting with John Westaway for a ride from Chris Moslin. We knew where he was (within 10 minutes update time) because he carries a satellite communications device that updates his location every 10 minutes from where ever on the trail he might be. You can see where from this site: https://share.delorme.com/DanaMeise
We interviewed him and you can watch that below. Later we joined members of the Trails society for dinner with Dana at the Station Pub. And heard a lot about hiking in Canada. His pick for the province best set up for hiking and biking? Quebec! Of all the groups of people from different ‘walks’ of life which group shows up to walk with him the most? Politicians 🙂