A slow moving landslide is seen inching down a hillside in northern British Columbia, prompting the evacuation of nearby Old Fort, B.C., in an undated handout photo. Marten Geertsema / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Residents of landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C., can return home

Residents of B.C. community displaced by slow-moving landslide can return home

One member of a tight-knit community along the Peace River that was evacuated when a slow-moving landslide began inching down the hillside above it says feelings are mixed about news that almost everyone can finally return home.

Gord Pardy says some people have been “going with the flow” and are happy to get home, while others are ready to move out of the hamlet of Old Fort, B.C.

“Some people are scared now, they have their houses for sale already,” Pardy said.

“Us, well, we couldn’t wait to get out of that hotel,” he said, referring to the tiny accommodation that he shared with his wife, daughter and their pets — two dogs and a bird — for four weeks.

The entire Old Fort community was evacuated Oct. 7, one week after the steep hillside above it began to slump, causing the only road into town to buckle and knocking down power lines as it moved toward properties along the banks of the Peace River below Fort St. John.

Related: Some residents of landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C., stage brief protest

Related: Evacuation order, some alerts lifted in landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C.

Landslide experts warned that the landslide could either stop, take a catastrophic turn or slowly displace the community. Residents were evacuated while scientists with the province and Westrek Geotechnical Services monitored the slide.

Evacuation orders for some properties were lifted late last month, and the Peace River Regional District said Sunday that only one remains in place. Residents of three other homes are asked to be ready to leave again at any moment.

Pardy said the single remaining evacuation order covers a property that was destroyed by the slide.

“That’s the poor family that lost their house,” Pardy said.

The provincial Ministry of Transportation said a semi-permanent road has been built over the existing slide.

An automated monitoring system is providing continuous updates on movement in the area and an operating protocol is in place to respond if there are any concerns, the Ministry said.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena thanked community members for their patience.

“We know this has been a stressful time for people who had to be evacuated, and I’m happy to hear the road is in place and people are able to return to their homes, now that it is safe to do so,” Trevena said in a statement.

Pardy said the experience has been difficult for community members, many of whom believe the threat of the landslide was overstated and didn’t justify their being forced from their homes.

“Tomorrow we’re going to start asking the question ‘why?’ We’re going to ask the question, what if something takes the road out again? What is going to be the plan? Because the plan can’t be a mass evacuation again.”

— by Amy Smart in Vancouver

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ponoka mayor asks for letter of support from Rimbey town council

Ponoka council plans to withhold education tax

Town will monitor ice thickness

Water in storm pond 17 feet deep

Regional fire chief speaks to council

Number of false alarm calls cause concern

Rimbey New Year’s baby

Rimbey area couple celebrate new baby

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Wetaskiwin ‘Yellow Vest’ protest Jan. 12

Wetaskiwin residents protest Liberal/NDP carbon taxes, failure to support pipelines

Olivia and Liam top list for Alberta baby names in 2018

Premier Rachel Notley announced the top baby names in Alberta in 2018; Loki didn’t make the cut

Edmonton Police charged 236 people with auto theft in 2018

Police states many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity

Official torchbearers for 2019 Canada Winter Games announced

Canada Games officials open time capsule from Grande Prairie Games in 1995

Alberta Health Services, United Nurses of Alberta reach agreement to settle union grievance of nursing staffing shortage

Settlement includes the designation of 11.7 full-time-equivalent Registered Nurse relief positions

Woman’s complaint leads to sexual assault charge against Calgary priest

Malcolm Joe D’Souza, who is 62, has been charged with one count of sexual assault

Saudi teen who was granted asylum in Canada says she’s a lucky one

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was fleeing abusive family back home

Most Read