A slow moving landslide is seen inching down a hillside in northern British Columbia, prompting the evacuation of nearby Old Fort, B.C., in an undated handout photo. Marten Geertsema / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Residents of landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C., can return home

Residents of B.C. community displaced by slow-moving landslide can return home

One member of a tight-knit community along the Peace River that was evacuated when a slow-moving landslide began inching down the hillside above it says feelings are mixed about news that almost everyone can finally return home.

Gord Pardy says some people have been “going with the flow” and are happy to get home, while others are ready to move out of the hamlet of Old Fort, B.C.

“Some people are scared now, they have their houses for sale already,” Pardy said.

“Us, well, we couldn’t wait to get out of that hotel,” he said, referring to the tiny accommodation that he shared with his wife, daughter and their pets — two dogs and a bird — for four weeks.

The entire Old Fort community was evacuated Oct. 7, one week after the steep hillside above it began to slump, causing the only road into town to buckle and knocking down power lines as it moved toward properties along the banks of the Peace River below Fort St. John.

Related: Some residents of landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C., stage brief protest

Related: Evacuation order, some alerts lifted in landslide-threatened Old Fort, B.C.

Landslide experts warned that the landslide could either stop, take a catastrophic turn or slowly displace the community. Residents were evacuated while scientists with the province and Westrek Geotechnical Services monitored the slide.

Evacuation orders for some properties were lifted late last month, and the Peace River Regional District said Sunday that only one remains in place. Residents of three other homes are asked to be ready to leave again at any moment.

Pardy said the single remaining evacuation order covers a property that was destroyed by the slide.

“That’s the poor family that lost their house,” Pardy said.

The provincial Ministry of Transportation said a semi-permanent road has been built over the existing slide.

An automated monitoring system is providing continuous updates on movement in the area and an operating protocol is in place to respond if there are any concerns, the Ministry said.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena thanked community members for their patience.

“We know this has been a stressful time for people who had to be evacuated, and I’m happy to hear the road is in place and people are able to return to their homes, now that it is safe to do so,” Trevena said in a statement.

Pardy said the experience has been difficult for community members, many of whom believe the threat of the landslide was overstated and didn’t justify their being forced from their homes.

“Tomorrow we’re going to start asking the question ‘why?’ We’re going to ask the question, what if something takes the road out again? What is going to be the plan? Because the plan can’t be a mass evacuation again.”

— by Amy Smart in Vancouver

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP officer allegedly sexts assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Two Okanagan players join Team Canada for Womens U18 World Championships

Anne Cherkowski and Sarah Paul will join the womens World Juniors team Dec. 26

WATCH: ‘Stubborn’ fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

The building, which lit up in flames around 2 a.m., was an infamous spot to Big White locals

Warriors looking for Teddy, hoping for win

West Kelowna hosts their annual Teddy Bear Toss fundraiser Saturday night

Price for one-bedroom rentals in Kelowna jumped 10.8% from October to November

Out of 34 Canadian cities, report said Kelowna had highest monthly rent increase

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Frosty will have to pay rent to stay on Okanagan sidewalk next Christmas

Vernon Teach and Learn allowed to keep Frosty up, but will need a permit come January 1

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Conservation officers on the hunt for North Okanagan moose poachers

Officers execute search warrant Friday morning, investigation continues

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopens after vehicle incident near Boston Bar

Initial reports of a jack-knifed semi truck had closed both directions of the highway

Most Read