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Flooding in Grand Forks and Boundary: College Response

What is Being Done Currently and What is Being Planned

 

The devastation Mother Nature has brought to Grand Forks and the Boundary is historic and this volatile flooding situation continues to be a major concern. The Boundary region and our Grand Forks Campus are vital to the Selkirk College family and support for those impacted continues.

The next few weeks will be filled with uncertainty as the situation has the potential to escalate, but Selkirk College staff and students have started to take action where required. This support will continue over the coming months/years as the community emerges and rebuilds what has been lost.

Grand Forks Flood

 Since the waters brought destruction last Friday, the following support and action has taken place.

  • The Grand Forks Campus is located in the downtown and so far has escaped any major damage, but the next 48 hours will be critical. The building is situated on higher ground, but precautions have been taken to ensure equipment and materials are protected should a second round of high water occur. The campus remains closed until further notice.
  • The Selkirk College team at the Grand Forks Campus are obviously personally impacted by this situation and as valued community leaders have been working hard to assist those in their home community wherever needed. Support for these employees in the coming days and months will be a priority for the college.
  • With increasing concerns about a similar flooding situation in the Salmo region, the Red Cross has contacted Selkirk College and the Tenth Street Campus in Nelson will be mobilized as a temporary relief centre should it be required.
  • The Selkirk College counselling team is available for anyone is in contact with a student who is in distress and in immediate need of support. Please direct them to Julie at the Castlegar Campus Welcome Centre desk who will connect them with a counsellor.

The crisis that has impacted Grand Forks and the Boundary over the last week is terrible, but even greater challenges await as the community will soon face the daunting task of rebuilding which will take months and years. College administration has fielded many inquires about how the greater college community can assist and support. Over the coming days and months, what is required will be assessed and action will be taken.

Here is what is happening in the short term:

  • At this point the situation is very volatile. Emergency Support Services officials are dealing with the situation and at this point a mass of volunteers has not been requested. However, it is anticipated as the community moves onto the clean-up phase, there will be an opportunity for staff to get involved in this capacity. Once that moment arises, all staff will be informed about what they can do to directly assist.
  • There will be support for our Grand Forks employees in terms of how they emerge with respect to donations, workload, vacation time, respite, EFAP and health, and stress supports.
  • Support for students who use the Grand Forks Campus or attend our other campuses will be considered as we maintain connections and open access for those rebuilding their lives. Financial aid and counselling services are at the ready for when the time comes.
  • Selkirk College will be an important part of supporting the community through the rebuilding process. We will likely be involved in responses to business, industry, community services and government for assistance with training, partnerships and technology as the community gets back up and running.
  • Selkirk College will continue to work with local government leaders, provincial authorities and the Red Cross moving forward as the need arises.

Homewood Health—Selkirk College’s EFAP (Employee & Family Assistance Provider)—has provided some valuable information and suggestions on how to help employees affected by natural disaster which you can find in pdf below. You can also contact Selkirk College’s Human Resource Advisor Trina Sutherland via email or at 250.365.1256 if you need further assistance accessing Homewood Health.

Homewood Health Flooding

There are now cards available to sign and share your thoughts at all campus locations for those who would like to pass on support to their co-workers, friends, students and families in the Grand Forks and Boundary area. They can be found at front administrative areas on each campus.

At this point, a small committee is being put together to move forward with the relief efforts. The college community stands with Grand Forks in both the short term and the long term. Input and ideas in the coming days are welcomed, please email Communications Coordinator Bob Hall should you want to share your thoughts.

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