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Geotech review of Campbell River slide underway as residents remain out of homes

City manager says no timetable for when residents can return, about 30 affected
Roots, tree trunks and mud pile up against a parkade that collapsed in a mudslide at the 700 block of South Island Highway in Campbell River Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. The area is still closed to the public. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Geotechnical professionals will arrive in Campbell River Thursday to determine what steps will be made to ensure a repeat of the landslide which happened at 738 Island Highway doesn’t happen again.

The landslide, which occurred on Tuesday evening, took place on the south end of Hillside Place, collapsing a garage parkade and resulting in the evacuation of some 30 residents of both 738 and 758 Island Highway, said Acting City Manager Drew Hadfield in a virtual call with the media Thursday.

Hadfield said that after the first landslide, which took place at 7 p.m., a second, much smaller one occurred about a 30 minutes later. It was then determined evacuation was the best course of action.

“Investigation was done this morning to determine the issues associated with the slide,” said Hadfield. “Our focus at the time of evacuation was to ensure public safety, and that’s why we moved in the direction of evacuation residents of the location.”

READ MORE: Island Highway condos evacuated after mudslide in Campbell River

Hadfield said that geotechnical professionals will be determining slope stability behind the units, and determine what steps are necessary to ensure that future issues associated with the slide could be addressed.

Strathcona Regional District Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman said that a residence centre had been set up at Campbell River Baptist Church, located at 260 Dogwood St., as well as a second one which was set up at the Strathcona Gardens recreation centre earlier Wednesday.

“The Emergency Support Services have logged around 110 hours helping residents impacted with their basic needs,” said Koopman. “There are about 25 volunteers. I raise my hand to these folks, who have put their lives on hold to assist with their communities.”

In addition, the city has arranged for residents to stay with others and get some personal belongings, as Koopman says that a group lodging facility was the “worse case scenario”

The slide is still considered active, so the building will not be occupied until the hillside is stabilized. It is not known when residents will be able to re-enter their homes.

“I think at this point in time, we’re unable to let them know as far as a return date,” said Hadfield. “At this point, we want to let them know a geotechnical assessment is done, to let them know there’s no risk to 738 Island Highway.”

Edward Hitchins

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