FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth visited Fort St. John and Old Fort Landslide Wednesday and continued to stress this is a very complex situation.
The Minister flew over the slide Wednesday afternoon and since Tuesday, the slide has moved another 20 metres into the Peace River and the cracks on either side of the slide are still widening.
Emergency Management B.C. now has a regional manager in the community working directly with the PRRD along with a communications person. Additional lidar mapping has been put into place to help geologists determine how the slide is moving.
The PRRD and Emergency Management B.C. are working on medium and long-term solutions for those evacuated by the slide, but those plans and decision can’t be made until the slide stops moving.
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New Data to help Monitor the Slide
The Minister authorized the cost to acquire lidar data from previous scans of the valley and area around the landslide. The data from 2005 and 2015 will give geologists a baseline and help them to understand how the land has moved in the past.
Alternate Access to the Old Fort
The Ministry of Transportation has two options for road access to the area. The one option using the island to the west of the Old Fort can’t be used until the slide stops moving. The slide has now reached the Peace River and could head directly for the route being considered. Equipment is ready to move to build a road as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
The Regional District has also started looking into options for barges on the river. They have only started to find a contractor who can provide that service. Once again, the Minister stressed, there isn’t much they can do until they know if it is safe to access the area.
New photos released
The Peace River Regional District released new photos of the slide Wednesday and the following quote from their geologist.
“Based on the helicopter survey of the slides and surrounding areas, there have been no recommendations for changes to the existing evacuation orders and alerts. Debris from the main slide has now blocked the channel and started to encroach on the island. A large compression crack immediately west of the main slide has dropped several meters which could further destabilize the reactivated landslide to the west. Westrek Geotechnical Services Ltd., PRRD, and the MoFLNRORD will continue to monitor movement as LiDAR information is collected to determine the size of the overall slide area. ”
Full Press Conference
Below is a copy of the full press conference with the Minister.