The Deer Park Forestry Service Road has been closed since last Tuesday when it was washed out and the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is currently estimating that the road will re-open on Monday, April 3.
The damage is at the 7.2 kilometer mark and it has disrupted travel for Deer Park residents.
“Today they’re scaling and blasting,” Anitra Winje, corporate officer for the RDCK and emergency operations centre (EOC) information officer, said on Tuesday. “So they have certain times that the road will be open to foot traffic to allow residents to come back and forth. There is a truck that has been meeting people and bringing supplies and other provisions back and forth.”
This is just one of a number of minor slide and flood events around the area, which Winje said are being caused by the amount of rainfall the region has received.
New Denver also experienced slides last Thursday that blocked off access to a few homes.
“They were cut off when the slide basically slid onto their private road. The slide didn’t reach the highway; it came within about 25 feet of the highway,” explained Winje. “So right now we’re just waiting to remove those materials. We estimate it would take about 200 tandem truck loads to remove it.”
Right now it’s too wet to remove the material and there are also danger trees that need to be removed before work can be done. In the meantime, residents are able to access New Denver on foot.
There was also a slide in Ainsworth last Thursday that led to the evacuation of one resident and on Friday Johnsons Landing was put on evacuation alert after concerns were raised about Gar Creek.
The RDCK issued an evacuation alert after it “received a report that Gar Creek is running muddy and materials on the slope appear to be shifting,” then on Monday issued an update asking residents to stay away from the Gar Creek channel as there had been “a minor debris flood” that caused a slide.
“It’s just an alert, so it’s just a precaution,” Winje explained Tuesday after 12 p.m. “We’re telling residents and the public not to sort of hang around the Gar Creek channel. There was a slide that came down. It didn’t hurt any structures or dwellings and thankfully no one was injured.”
Winje said the RDCK is nervous after the Johnsons Landing landslide claimed the lives of four people in 2012.
“When we got the report … from a resident that he’d seen some boulders shifting and some debris coming down the channel, as well as around the former community water intake system, that’s when we dispatched the helicopter and sent a couple of people up to do an overview assessment of the area,” she said.
The alert was lifted Tuesday around 1:30 p.m., but the RDCK is asking the public to remain vigilant and to stay aware of the condition of Gar Creek, as the spring melt and coming rain could bring further debris down the creek channel.
Once you’re on the road, stay alert.
“If you see a lot of water coming off the side of the mountain, and there’s no culvert or maybe a culvert is blocked, that could mean that there’s something coming,” said Winje.
In the event you encounter an obstruction on the roadway, turn around and report the problem to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
For more information on how to prepare for an emergency, visit rdck.ca/EN/main/services/emergency-management/emergency-preparedness.html.