A view from a high point of the Kirschner Mountain subdivision looking down at the work underway to restore a hillside identified as a potential landslide concern bordered by Loseth Road and Kloppenburg Court. (Barry Gerding - Black Press)

Smoothing out landslide fears on Kelowna hillside

Weather cooperates with efforts to quickly stabilize steep slope in Kirshner Mountain subdivision

Efforts to prevent a potential landslide in a Kelowna neighbourhood are expected to be complete within the next week, says the City of Kelowna’s development engineering manager.

James Kay said crews began working on the hillside remediation project earlier in March to stabilize the slope, bordered by Loseth Road and Kloppenburg Court in the Kirschner Mountain subdivision.

Kay said the warmer spring weather has been beneficial to ground crews.

“The weather has been fantastic for us so far. Warm and dry and the ground not being frozen has certainly facilitated a smoother project so far and should help keep costs lower than were expected,” Kay said.

Those costs were estimated to be anywhere from $750,000 to more than $1 million, which will ultimately be saddled by the two adjacent property owners, pending potential litigation as to who is responsible for allowing the slope to become a landslide hazard.

Related: City anxious to remediate slope posing landslide danger

Related: Kelowna subdivision slope erosion fuels landslide fears

Related: Kelowna council approves costly slope repairs

Related: Flooding plagues Black Mountain

“Our need was to get in there quickly and get the work done before the rains come and nothing we have seen so far has changed to mobilize on this quickly and aggressively to get the work done,” Kay said.

He said the ground reclamation efforts—which involve construction of retaining walls, reducing slope steepness and shuffling soil from the top to bottom of the hillside—so far have revealed the slope to have been too steep and the soil content not compacted adequately.

Kay said the investigation by the city as to who is responsible for those conditions being created continues, noting removal of some of the mystery about what is happening below the ground surface many answer some questions.

City officials have stated both homeowners facing the slope repair bill did nothing to create the problem in the first place, something they will be left to resolve in civil litigation to repay the city for taking the emergency slope repair action.

Kay added other slope movement and flooding concerns from recent years in other parts of the Black Mountain area will also be closely monitored by city officials, particularly for houses along Charleswood Drive, Lynrick Road and Vista Verde Road.

To the north of Highway 33, across from Kirschner Mountain, a roadside multi-tiered retaining wall failure affecting homes on Samurai Court and Nishi Court, in the Mine Hill subdivision on Black Mountain, has also yet to be repaired.


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