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‘It’s not right’ residents left with safety issues after 2018 landslide near Site C dam

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‘It’s not right’ residents left with safety issues after 2018 landslide near Site C dam

Greater than a 12 months after having a Peace Valley landslide forced the evacuation of Old Fort residents, with six homes nevertheless under an evacuation order or crisis alert, the local region and B.C. government are wrangling over who’s responsible for determining if the community of 200 is safe.

“This uncertainty has effects on the community that is whole there,” Brad Sperling, chair of this Peace River Regional District, told The Narwhal.

“But even more so, the three [property owners] which can be on alert, they’re living day to day being ready to escape. It’s not appropriate and it’s perhaps not fair.”

The fall, within an area underlaid by numerous gas leases and near one entry towards the Site C dam worksite, had been classified being a “dangerous occurrence” under B.C.’s health, security and reclamation code.

That triggered a geotechnical evaluation to identify “the cause and contributing facets” of the slide, based on a briefing note for Peter Robb, mining and energy assistant deputy minister, that has been contained in the response to a Freedom of Information request created by The Narwhal.

A screenshot of a briefing note prepared for Peter Robb, assistant deputy minister of B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. The briefing note ended up being acquired by The Narwhal via a Freedom of Information demand. The document also notes the region is home to “historically unstable slopes.”

But almost 14 months later — aided by the landslide going metres a day for the month that is first then settling, before advancing another few centimetres last springtime — the geotechnical evaluation isn’t yet complete, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said within an e-mail to The Narwhal.

“The Chief Inspector’s research into this matter is ongoing,” the ministry said, noting that “13 months isn’t a silly timeframe to perform this type of complex research.”

“ … everything surrounding the slide is extremely hush-hush.”

The ministry did not react to a question asking what information must nevertheless be collected in order to conclude the investigation in to the slide, which displaced eight million cubic metres of earth and blocked the only road to Old Fort for the thirty days.

Old Fort resident Kali Chmelyk said community members are getting contradictory communications concerning the landslide, noting “everything surrounding the fall is very hush-hush.”

For example, when residents ask about the short-term road into the community and when it is paved, they’re told the slide continues to be dangerous and still moving and not to quit their vehicles on your way because it isn’t safe, Chmelyk stated.

“But then when you bring up ‘so it is dangerous, just what does that mean?’ Then you can get the response of ‘oh no, everything’s fine, it is not dangerous, it is not moving any longer, there’s no danger to safety, blah, blah, blah.’ ”

“These are our houses and now we want to know we’re safe where we are. I don’t want to be told in six months ‘it’s feasible that this may take place again, so we’re just likely to purchase you out.’”

G gle map showing the place associated with Old Fort landslide in terms of the Peace River together with Site C dam. Photo Cathrine Ruddell / Twitter

Web Site C task commissions landslide report

The banks for the Peace River are notoriously unstable, sparking calls for an independent security review for the want Inmate dating $10.7 billion web Site C dam, the biggest publicly funded infrastructure project in B.C.’s history.

Geotechnical problems have previously slowed work with the task and now have added to its escalating cost.

The Joint Review Panel that examined the web Site C dam for the federal and provincial governments found that slope uncertainty and landslides within the valley “would potentially adversely affect” the project and “could end up in landslide-generated waves or overtopping of the dam that could end in direct harm to infrastructure.”

The FOI documents show that, rigtht after the fall, BC Hydro requested a niche site C task industry reconnaissance report from BGC Engineering Inc.

Work being done to create a temporary access road to the community of Old Fort on October 20, 2018. Picture Matt Preprost / Alaska Highway Information

Based on e-mails, BGC engineer Andrew Mitchell asked the government that is provincial LIDAR information for a two-kilometre square area around the landslide. Other FOI documents show BGC examined LIDAR information dating back to 2015, the season construction that is preliminary your website C dam began.

“We’d be very enthusiastic about seeing the wider view associated with the present topography,” Mitchell told the energy and mining ministry in an email.

LIDAR, which means Light Detection and starting, is a remote sensing technique that makes use of lasers to record information regarding the earth’s surface. It is useful for a wide range of land administration and planning efforts, including for hazard evaluation in the case of activities such as for instance tsunamis, lava flows and landslides.

Sperling said he wasn’t aware of the BGC report, that has been sent to P ley as well as others — including to staff in B.C.’s ministries of power, transportation and forests, lands and resource that is natural — as well as to BC Hydro’s Site C group.

“They had been doing LIDAR flyovers in that two-kilometre area but that ended up being supposedly to figure out where in fact the Old Fort slide had been going,” Sperling said. “I’d no proven fact that BC Hydro ended up being taking part in this.”

Site C project landslide report redacted from FOI reaction

The BGC report was redacted from the FOI documents, which The Narwhal received multiple year after filing its request.

Nearly 70 pages had been taken out of the FOI response regarding the grounds that articles would reveal policy advice or recommendations, or because disclosure will be bad for law enforcement or personal privacy.

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