UPDATE: Assessment underway on slope that gave way, trapping two seniors

Campbell River fire crews rescue two seniors trapped by mudslide, four homes evacuated

  • Jan. 21, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Residents evacuated from four houses in Holly Hills Sunday after a mud slide trapped two seniors in their house could know today whether they can return to their homes.

A geotechnical assessment on the bank began on Monday and should say whether it is safe for residents to return.

“The evacuees will be out of their homes for at least two more nights,” city manager Deborah Sargent told City Council Monday night, pointing out the sheer volume of water that the city has been dealing with this week. Preliminary assessments show that the bank likely gave way due to oversaturation of the ground above the bank.

“Our city’s wastewater treatment plant, which processes not only sewer but also the water that runs through our stormdrains,” Sargent said, “on Sunday, the morning of the mudslide, in 24 hours we processed three times the amount of water than we would normally process. That amount is the equivalent of 15.5 Olympic size swimming pools.”

The City of Campbell River issued an evacuation order for the four homes in north Campbell River Sunday morning after heavy rain caused a slope to give way in the neighbourhood.

At about 7:05 a.m., the slope behind the home at 2211 Park Rd. gave way, causing a mud slide that brought down a mature tree and pushed the root ball into the home, a press release from the City of Campbell River says. The slide damaged the home, and the impact of the tree partially collapsed the home, and shifted it from the foundation, trapping two seniors inside. Fire crews safely removed the people from the home. They have been staying with family.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt when the bank gave way,” Sargent said Sunday. “A preliminary investigation by McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. has confirmed that the heavy rains appear to have saturated the ground above the bank in this area, and surrounding homes upslope and adjacent to this property are being evacuated as a precaution.”

A mandatory evacuation order was put into effect for properties at 2211 Park, 2223 Park, 2205 Park and 2238 Steelhead Road while a professional with specific geotechnical experience in slope failures and slides investigates ground conditions and determines the stability of the bank.

“For the safety of the people living in these homes, the evacuation order will remain in effect until the bank and surrounding properties can be fully assessed,” adds Mayor Andy Adams. “We are working with emergency personnel to provide supervision in the event that people need access to the properties to acquire essential items, such as prescriptions, pets or other necessities. We are also arranging for Emergency Social Services to assist people with shelter and emergency supplies and with relocating livestock as necessary.”

During the slide’s aftermath, roads in the area remained open.

Signs and barricades went up to alert drivers of localized flooding elsewhere in the community caused by elevated flow levels in Nunns Creek and the Campbell River, combined with high tides that slow draining from these waterways to the ocean.