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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Manny’s Motel’ badly damaged by fire Jan. 15

Police say 40 Ave. closed due to fire, use alternate route

From courthouse to council’s house

Old courthouse had long history before becoming City Hall

Revenue Canada, RCMP don’t accept Bitcoin: police

RCMP issue Bitcoin warning posters

Writer says Alberta highway system falling apart

Highways in ‘deplorable’ condition: writer

County council denies request for parking lot

Buck Lake groups are welcome to raise funds and return to council

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lays charges in Stettler death

Nicholas Climb Johnson, 32, of Stettler is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father

Metis nations ask Ottawa to negotiate directly with them, not national body

Three provincial Metis nations will work through the national council until after the federal government releases its 2020 budget

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sylvan Lake RCMP seek assistance in locating missing male

Mark Crier, 17, was last seen in Sylvan Lake on Jan. 13

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

Most Read