Terrace house evacuated due to soil erosion – Smithers Interior News


The City of Terrace ordered the evacuation of a property on McConnell Crescent due to shoreline erosion and landslides that have affected properties in the area since at least 2017. Over the past 5 years, parties of the original plot of land of four affected properties have slid into the river as the escarpment continues to erode behind the homes.

City spokesman Tyler Clarke said staff had been in contact with the owner of the evacuated home ahead of time. The owner was ready to go and had another place to go in the meantime, Clarke said. The city also declared a local state of emergency on Wednesday, July 6, which Clarke said was part of the evacuation procedure for the house.

In 2017, there was a landslide on the Kitsumkalum River south of 5416 and 5418 McConnell Crescent. At that time, the city applied a rock-filled cover along the entire length of the slope.

This was followed by another landslide behind one of the properties in 2019. Enough soil was removed from the bottom of the slope behind one property that the slope collapsed as erosion continued to eat away at the bank.

By 2021, the now vacated property had already suffered significant losses and neighbors had also suffered from erosion due to landslides.

Last February, the owners requested urgent assistance from the city to secure funding to mitigate damage from the landslide and subsequent erosion behind properties on McConnell Crescent and Stellars Jay Drive to prevent further damage or loss.

Due to climate change, the city estimated that there would likely be more problems in the landslide area, along the bank of the Kitsumkalum River, which could continue to affect adjacent properties.

Since last year, the river has moved about a kilometer in 80 years.

A grant was awarded last August to enable the city to develop a broader mitigation plan for the Kalum River. The project was awarded to McElhanney in January 2022 and is expected to be delivered in September.

The city said Wednesday that staff have been monitoring this situation and communicating with some of the surrounding property owners to understand the frequency and extent of the expanding landslide and its impact.

The city hired McElhanney to monitor properties on a weekly basis and report.

Taylor Geotechnical Engineering was hired to perform a geotechnical survey of the hillside to determine slope stability and make recommendations on alerts and evacuation orders.

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