‘Everything’s just a total mess’
Slow-moving landslide prompts evacuation alert for outskirts of Fort St. John
Fallout from the massive, slow-moving landslide that displaced the residents of a northeastern community earlier this week has prompted an evacuation alert for properties on the edge of the city of Fort St. John.
The alert was issued Wednesday for a section of the city’s southernmost outskirts at the top of the steep hill overlooking the Peace River and the riverbank community of Old Fort, which was ordered to evacuate on Sunday.
Following a flyover of the slide and surrounding areas and a meeting with Old Fort residents, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth expressed shock at seeing the extent of the slide’s impact.
“It’s pretty unbelievable when you see the trees that are bent and shattered like toothpicks, and you see these cracks on the hillside on either side of the slide, and when you see where the road is buckled,” Farnworth told reporters. “It looks like
what you see in one of those earthquake movies (set in) in Los Angeles or Japan, where everything’s just a total mess.”
The slowly moving landslide began more than 10 days ago, tearing up and buckling the only road in or out of Old Fort. The force of the more than 6 million cubic metres of earth toppled power lines and forced the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) to order the evacuation of all 54 homes in the
The slide has since moved all the way into the channel between the riverside and a nearby island, though the main flow of the Peace River is not currently affected.
A news release from Fort St. John says the evacuation alert is precautionary and will allow city staff to effectively respond to the constantly changing event.
No homes in Fort St. John are affected by the alert, which covers two sewage lagoons
described by the city as “dormant and empty.”
Following Sunday’s evacuation order, the residents of Old Fort were told they would be allowed back into their homes temporarily to winterize their houses, pack further provisions and collect pets or livestock that may have been left behind.
But that permission was rescinded Tuesday due to fears for “public safety,” according to a statement from the PRRD.
A slow-moving slide began more than 10 days ago, tearing up and buckling the only road in or out of Old Fort. It has since moved into the channel.