Residents of the Johnsons Landing area of the Kootneys are being put on evacuation alert due to a minor debris flood at Gar Creek.
This flood was caused by 500 cubic meters of materials rushing down the slope. Depending on how much rain the region receives in the next few days, it is expected that minor debris may continue to flow down the creek.
The Regional District of Central Kootney has issued the evacuation alert as a precaution. The regional district says its emergency management team is assessing the situation and a helicopter is bringing representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to the area.
It has been almost five years since a landslide occurred in the same area leaving four people dead and four homes destroyed.
The cause of the July 12, 2012 slide was found to be a very high groundwater table that reduced the strength of the soil. This occurred due to above average rainfall in June and a higher than normal snowpack, combined with a delayed snowmelt. Slope movement was happening at least two days before the slide occurred, and local residents had noticed the Gar Creek had been flowing at its highest level in more than 40 years in the week before the slide.
A report released shortly after the landslide indicated that there are more risks of debris flow in the same area. One of the recommendations to prevent future damage included improving the communication between residents and local authorities.
This includes notifying residents of the estimated hazard and risk in the area and teaching them how to read the signs of increased landslide hazards, such as high creek turbidity.
Other recommendations included establishing a simple landslide monitoring program, and restricting further land/house development in the areas identified as having a moderate, high, or very high hazard unless investigations are done that support the development.
The warning released today may be a cause of concern for many residents of this region.
Emergency Management BC said around $300,000 was spent to assist the residents whose homes were destroyed in the landslide of July 2012.
Because the province was found to be not at fault, compensation for the victims was limited to the province’s Disaster Financial Assistance Program, offering an additional $300,000 due to findings in the report.
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With files from Amy Judd, Christine Tam, and the Canadian Press