The slide area at Johnsons Landing is still being investigated.

Unstable material remains at Johnsons Landing slide

Following a visit to the Johnsons Landing slide site earlier this month, a geo-technical team has a better understanding of what happened.

After a geotechnical team visited Johnsons Landing this month, experts have more insight into what led to the slide and what is going on at the site.

While it may take months for the team to release their findings as to the cause, geomorphologist Peter Jordan said there is a large unstable area remaining near the source.

“There is an area that could conceivably slide again in the future,” said Jordan about the unstable area. “That doesn’t mean that it will slide, it just means that it is possible.”

Mapping by the geotechnical team will allow them to calculate what the volume of a future slide might be and how far it might travel.

“We can’t really predict when or if it would slide or whether all the unstable area would slide at once which isn’t that likely really, or whether a smaller area would,” said Jordan. “We do have to figure out just what is up there. It also gives us clues as to what caused it and what kind of materials are involved.”

Jordan has been onsite at Johnsons Landing since the slide in July and said compared to other slides he’s worked on, this one was “exceptionally big.”

“This is kind of a one in a million landslide,” he said.

“It was certainly impossible to predict a landslide that big could happen or even that a landslide could happen in that area. No big landslide has ever happened in that area before from what we can tell from our field work. There weren’t any apparent indicators a landslide of that size would happen.”

Jordan said the maximum volume of the unstable area is comparable to what came down in July.

“That doesn’t mean it will all come down at once,” he said. “None of it may come down or it might not come down for thousands of years, or it might come down next spring. It’s really hard to tell at this point.”

Throughout the fall and spring, Jordan and the geotechnical team will continue to watch the slide site to see how the coming weather affects stability of the area.

“We do need to see how the area responds to wet weather because it pretty much hasn’t rained since the slide,” he said.

“If there is wet weather in fall we want to see whether things move or shift and more importantly next spring what happens with the next snow melt.

“We don’t know if it is going to be a wet spring like it was this year, but certainly if there is some shifting of the ground that we can observe and measure it will tell us what is likely to happen up there.”

As experts watch the site in the coming months, residents will continue to rebuild.

Jordan said they will give residents and local government the approximate probability of a landslide affecting any location in the Gar Creek valley.

“Safe is a relative term,” said Jordan about rebuilding at Johnsons Landing.

“There are lots of hazards when you live out in the bush. There is wildfire and animals and any number of things, so safe is relative.

“Landslides can happen anywhere in the mountains, even in Nelson. It’s just a case of probabilities. With the information provided, local government and residents will have to look at the risk and decide whether it is acceptable.”

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

Just Posted

West Kootenay SAR crews rescue injured mountain biker near Rossland

Crews were called in to help after the biker seriously injured himself at around noon Saturday

Nelson teachers union president worried about members ahead of return to classes

Carla Wilson says there are a lot of questions remaining

Pop-up drive-in theatre shows Only in Nelson

The event was a collaboration between the Civic Theatre and Kootenay Co-op Radio

Suspected fentanyl and cocaine seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read