Aerial shot of the Johnsons Landing slide.

Johnsons Landing Evacuation Order Continues — unusual situation remains complex

The Regional District is continuing the evacuation order for Johnsons Landing because of the still unstable mass.

The Regional District is continuing the evacuation order for Johnsons Landing because of the still unstable mass above the community devastated by a landslide in July 2012.

The Chair and the Chief Administrative Officer of the Regional District of Central Kootenay recently met with representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to determine the status of risks associated with occupancy of those properties located in identified hazard zones in the Gar Creek drainage at Johnsons Landing.

CAO Brian Carruthers said the group came together to evaluate a complex and unusual situation.

“There’s a common understanding that we just don’t feel confident in having people go back into that area given the lack of data we have in monitoring the movement of that unstable slope above Johnsons Landing,” he said.

On July 12, 300,000 cubic meters came down Kootenay JoeRidge as Gar Creek became blocked killing four people. Today, an unstable scarp containing approximately 800,000 cubic meters of material still exists and a lack of long-term monitoring data necessary for accurately determining the likelihood of a future landslide isn’t available. Carruthers said the risk to life and property is unacceptable.

The regional administrator explained that the Johnsons Landing slide continued concern is unusual.

“Normally when you have a landslide event like that, the land slides and it’s over. You go in and clean up, assess and potentially reinhabit,” he said. “The unusual circumstance is you have a continuing hazard after the first slide.”

There is currently no established framework for addressing the risk and ongoing land use associated with the likelihood and consequence of a future landslide.

As the evacuation order continues, the RDCK will be working closely with the Province to address the outstanding issues of land-use zoning.

“That’s the complex matter that’s taking us some time to work through with the province,” he said.

The RDCK will be providing additional information in the new year.