Mudslide threatens two homes in Summerland

Slide on Friday morning washes out slope in Garnett Valley

PHOTO SUBMITTED                                MUDSLIDE                                Water-saturated land gave way above Garnett Valley Road in Summerland. Photo courtesy District of Summerland.

PHOTO SUBMITTED MUDSLIDE Water-saturated land gave way above Garnett Valley Road in Summerland. Photo courtesy District of Summerland.

A state of local emergency has been declared and two properties along Garnett Valley Road remain under an evacuation order following a mudslide on Friday morning.

An area about 10 metres wide at the crest of the slope above the road, consisting of soil and tree debris flowed down the slope into the south corner of a home at 21207 Garnett Valley Rd.

It also washed out the slope below the house to the southeast and onto the northeast corner of the property at 21025 Garnett Valley Rd.

Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said Tuesday that municipal staff and crews from Fortis B.C. are still assessing the impact to determine if it is safe to lift the evacuation order. Fortis crews are examining the area because a gas main is located near the slide.

“It hasn’t been deemed safe to be there,” she said. “People should not be out there. There is a risk.”

Neighbours have observed people driving up to the homes to look around, even though the evacuation order is in place.

According to geotechnical information received by the municipality, a section of the slope remaining above is saturated and water continues to flow through and out of the slide area. Water also continues to erode the slope below the house and deposit material.

The evacuation order was prompted by the threat of additional ground slippage and groundwater erosion. Both properties should be considered a high risk during future rainfall/melting events.

“The ground is very saturated at this point,” Tynan said. “What will happen when the snow starts to melt?”

Last spring, Garnett Valley experienced flooding and concerns have been raised that the area could experience another flood season this year.

Environment Canada’s forecast for Summerland calls for rain on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Tynan said municipal crews will monitor the rate and amount of precipitation.