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Residents of evacuated Vernon townhouses return home following small landslide

Click to play video: 'Residents of evacuated Vernon townhouses return home after landslide' Residents of evacuated Vernon townhouses return home after landslide
Residents of evacuated Vernon townhouses return home after landslide – Feb 3, 2020

Residents of six evacuated townhouse units in Vernon, B.C. were allowed to return to their homes on Monday.

Roughly half a dozen residents of the Vue townhouse complex on Middleton Mountain in Vernon were forced from their homes on Saturday afternoon by a small landslide.

They were allowed to return two days later, after a professional assessment of the area was done and mitigation work was completed.

READ MORE: Debris flow blocks bridge near Tulameen, closes Coalmont Road

Officials blamed a quick thaw for the soil sloughing.

“It saturated the top soil, so top soils were flowing down the hill from elevation and out into the street, so some folks were rightfully concerned about that,” explained Vernon Fire Chief David Lind.

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Residents called the fire department Saturday afternoon. City officials took a precautionary approach and evacuated six units while the issue was investigated.

“It wasn’t clear whether or not there was a possibility for a large piece of land to come off and maybe damage the buildings or even threaten life safety,” said Lind on why he thought an evacuation was warranted.

Click to play video: 'Mudslide comes down on Burnaby Mountain' Mudslide comes down on Burnaby Mountain
Mudslide comes down on Burnaby Mountain – Jan 23, 2020

Residents from the evacuated units spent two nights in the care of emergency support services.

However, across the street from the slide, resident Leah West, whose unit wasn’t evacuated, wasn’t worried.

READ MORE: Vernon townhouse complex partially evacuated due to mudslide

“Contractors assured us that there was not imminent danger to anybody and they were checking into it, making sure that everything was structurally safe,” West said.

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“For us, we felt completely fine and comfortable.”

The developer, meanwhile, brought in experts to look at the site.

“We had our geotechs come through and the other engineers were in this morning checking it out. [They] said it is safe, stable, nothing else will go,” said Jordan Danchuck, site supervisor for Aldebaran Homes.

READ MORE: People stranded at Sasquatch Mountain escorted safely out of resort area

The city said the geotechnical engineer recommended some mitigation work that has now been completed and displaced residents were allowed to return.

However, some in the complex, who didn’t feel comfortable going on camera, had concerns about the slide.

One man wondered if the slide would hurt owners’ resale prospects, while another argued the slide could have been prevented.

However, Danchuck rejected the idea that more could have been done to prevent the sloughing and blamed the problem on a quick temperature rise.

As residents returned home Monday, both the city and developer assured them their properties are safe.

“We’ve had experts look at it; they’ve told us the slope is stable,” said Lind.

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