FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Old Fort Landslide continues to move and the entire subdivision is now at risk.
At a public meeting Monday, residents were given an update on the situation and there are now three active slides in the area. The main slide that started on September 30, is moving anywhere from 5 to 10 metres per day and the slide has now reached the channel next to the river.
The initial slide has activated a slide on the western side that is moving four metres per day. There is now a third slide that is east of the original slide. According to the geologist hired by the Peace River Regional District, the entire subdivision is at risk.
On top of the three active slides, an older landslide could reactivate. The relic slide has shown signs of deformation.
With winter almost here, the slide conditions will only get worse which could mean residents might be out of their homes until spring or summer. The precipitation and colder temperatures will make the slides more active.
Access to the area
The Peace River Regional District is working on a plan to allow temporary access to homes in the Old Fort. Residents will need to contact the PRRD for more information and how to start the permitting process.
The PRRD still hasn’t heard from all the residents of the Old Fort and anyone who hasn’t heard from the PRRD since last week should call 250-784-3200.
The Ministry of Transportation is looking at four options to build a temporary road into the Old Fort. The decision on which option they will build should happen shortly.
Frustration from residents
Residents continued to express their frustration with the lack of information from the Peace River Regional District and Emergency Management B.C. Residents expressed their concerns about a lack of plans and the lack of information being shared with them.
Many residents at the meeting felt their homes were not at risk and expressed frustration that they were evacuated and that they haven’t been involved in the decision-making process.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources told the crowd a stop work order was issued immediately for the gravel pit. There are approximately 40,000 to 50,000 cubic metres of material at the site and it’s not believed the stockpile of material had an impact on the slide.
The material is being removed and monitored to see if there is any more movement. There has been minimal movement at the at the mine site since removal started. The material is being used for a construction project north of Fort St. John.
When the gravel pit permit was issued, the Ministry did not require the operator to do a study on slope stability.
Residents who live near the gravel pit said they witnessed a slide in the gravel pit in July of this year. According to the Ministry spokesperson, the Ministry is not aware of the alleged slide.
Many residents asked why construction at the Dam had not been stopped while the slide is still moving. While there was no official available at the meeting from B.C. Hydro, the Peace River Regional District said Hydro isn’t concerned that the slide has impacted construction at the project.
As for the effect, construction has had on the landslide, there was no clear answer given. Hydro had said the day after the first slide, that they believe construction did not cause the slide.
The lookout at the end of 100 street will remain closed until further notice. Cracking has been found below the lookout and the area is at risk.