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

A grand opening for kids

The BV Child Development Centre held its regional centre grand opening Nov. 15.

Taxi airport parking problems

BV Taxi and Smithers Airport conflict on safety, service and security treatment of drivers.

CN signal boxes shot

Information sought after trains forced to stop by Kitwanga signal boxes being shot up.

Telkwa still remembers

Video of Telkwa students and photos from Remembrance Day ceremony.

Smithers remembers

Photos and video of Rev. Doug Campbell’s speech at Veterans’ Peace Park.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Province not doing enough for forestry sector, say Liberals

Although Minister of Forests says government working to diversify industry, rural economies

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read