The City of Campbell River has assessed the ground condition and bank safety of a slope that gave way on Masters Road Sunday morning and determined residents can return to two of the four homes affected. Photo courtesy City of Campbell River

Evacuations lifted after mudslide, but one home now ‘uninhabitable’

Geotechnical report comes out regarding mudslide that trapped two seniors in their home

Some – but not all – of the people who had to evacuate after a mudslide last weekend can return to their homes.

“A slope assessment conducted for the City of Campbell River after a bank gave way maintains an evacuation order for one home and downgrades two homes to evacuation alert, allowing people to return to these properties as long as they’re prepared to evacuate if notified,” a release from the city says.

“We’ve been keeping in touch with the people from the four homes that were evacuated after the bank gave way on Jan. 21, and we’ve let the people from two of the properties know that they will be able to return to their homes today,” says city manager Deborah Sargent.

“We’ve also been in contact with the people living at the property to the north of the home that was significantly damaged to advise that the evacuation order remains in effect for that home,” Sargent adds. “We recognize the slide has caused a major disruption, and that the evacuation order is a huge inconvenience, and we’re working with qualified professionals to determine next steps to confirm the condition of the bank and how best to secure the safety of this property. We know the property owner wants answers as soon as possible, and we’re trying to help get those answers. In the meantime, we can’t permit people to live in this house unless and until we have confirmation that the condition of that slope presents no imminent risk.”

The home at 2211 Park Road that was significantly damaged is now considered uninhabitable, the release says.

“The owners will be allowed to access the property, but the notice bars entry to the building until a structural engineer determines the conditions that would permit safe entry. It will be up to the homeowners to hire an engineer for that assessment before beginning any salvaging and clean-up inside the building.”

No one was hurt when the slope in the north Campbell River neighbourhood gave way last Sunday Morning, but the slide brought down a mature tree and pushed the root ball into one home. The impact partially collapsed that home, and shifted it from the foundation, trapping two seniors inside until fire crews could get to them.

The investigation into the slide confirmed that heavy rains saturated the ground above the bank in this area, and three homes adjacent to the damaged home were evacuated as a precaution.

“The landslide occurred where a non-engineered wooden retaining wall was constructed along the slope crest, supporting organic-rich fill, and where several sources of concentrated stormwater discharged onto the slope or into the fill material,” the summary of the assessment says. “The collapse of soil behind and beneath the wall caused the saturated soils to liquefy, triggering a mudflow.

Local Emergency Support Services are being made available to assist people displaced by the mudflow with emergency supplies and temporary shelter for themselves and their animals.

The full geotechnical report can be read here (PDF).