Cody Turner of Knox Mountain Metals points to the hillside above the business in Kelowna’s North End where an as-of-yet unidentified source of groundwater has caused a “slow-motion” mudslide over the last two years. —Image: Jen Zielinski/Black Press

Kelowna’s ‘slow motion’ landslide area expanded

City says a larger area on the side of Knox Mountain is being closed off to the public for safety

The unstable slope on Knox Mountain above a portion of Bay Avenue continues to slowly encroach onto the property of a business at the base of the mountain, says the City of Kelowna.

And, as a result, the city is expanding the area of Knox Mountain Park that is currently off-limits to the public.

A geo-technical report commissioned by the city has identified the potential area that could be affected if the slope continues to give way. A portion of Knox Mountain Metals site could be impacted, as well as the northern most section of Ethel Street.

Currently the business has a wall of scrap metal up to try and hold back the water-soaked hillside.

A safe operating zone has been established and Knox Mountain Metals is open for business and continuing operations to receive scrap metal, but they are not able to sell new or used metal at this time, said the city in a news release issued late Thursday.

The dead-end section of Ethel Street north of Bay Ave has been temporarily closed. No other properties above or around the area are identified as being at risk.

Fencing and warning signs are installed above the area of potential slope instability adjacent to Royal View Drive, says city hall.

The public and park users are asked to observe the warning and not enter the area behind the fence. Being inside the fencing could result in death or injury if the slope were to fail while people were inside the hazard area.

“The geo-tech consultant will continue to monitor the slope and tell us when it’s safe again,” said Stephen Bryans, of the City of Kelowna. “We expect that when ground water conditions shift and the soil saturation is reduced, there will be less risk of a slide.”

The park trails that run parallel and south of Royal View Drive have been closed until further notice. The trails are fenced off and signs are posted to alert people to the danger. Residents can use the sidewalk along Royal View Drive to access Knox Mountain Park.

Earlier this month,Bryans said the source of the water causing the “slow motion” landslide has not been found the hillside is too wet to put machinery onto in order to stabilize the slope.

He said the city has to wait for it to dry up. There are monitors on the hillside measuring the movement of the earth, he added.

The problem has been ongoing for the last two years according to staff at Knox Mountain Metals.

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