The Regional District of Central Kootenay has agreed to help a couple remove their home from a slide zone in the Slocan Valley. Photo: Connor Trembley

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has agreed to help a couple remove their home from a slide zone in the Slocan Valley. Photo: Connor Trembley

Agreement reached to help Slocan Valley couple remove home in slide zone

The RDCK is going to pitch in

by John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Valley Voice

A Slocan Valley couple is going to get help to remove their abandoned home from their property perched high above the Little Slocan River.

Scott Carlson and Christa Brakmann’s house is in danger of sliding into the river, as erosion eats away at the property.

The couple hasn’t lived in the building since the spring, and have moved to Castlegar.

But the house still remains a danger, and in November RDCK officials settled with the couple on a deal to help them get the building off the property before it tumbles down to the water.

The agreement was revealed in the minutes of the December RDCK board meeting.

“The purpose of the agreement is to make clear the understanding that the RDCK will work to remove the house, but that the liability ultimately still remains with the homeowners,” says Chris Johnson, the director of the RDCK’s Emergency Operations Centre.

“For example, if the RDCK is not able to remove the house due to safety concerns, and it falls down the bank and impacts the river, the RDCK will not be held liable.”

With the legal technicalities settled, the regional government and homeowners can begin work on demolishing the building and removing its materials. The couple faces a complete loss on what was to be their retirement home, and couldn’t afford to have it removed themselves.

While it’s a private building on private property, Johnsons says the RDCK has a duty to ensure the building doesn’t create an environmental hazard.

“All local authorities within B.C. are legislated to operate and maintain an emergency management program to manage and coordinate responses to emergencies within their political boundaries,” he told the Valley Voice. “In this case, the emergency is an imminent threat of a deleterious substance entering a waterway.

“Within our role in managing the emergency, our goal is to remove the hazard (the house) before it has a negative impact on the environment (the river and its ecosystem).”

It’s not known how much it will cost to remove the building from the property, as it’s still not even clear it will be safe to have work crews on the site. But Johnson says he hopes crews will be able to take down the home before spring runoff intensifies erosion on the property.

“Due to the nature of the unstable slope, we are, as of yet, unsure what a safe working distance from the edge will be,” he says. “We currently have geotechnical experts monitoring the slope to understand how active it is.

“From this data, a safe work distance will be determined, then a viable method of removal identified, and finally, an overall cost understood.”

Johnson says their first priority is the health and safety of the crews who’ll be asked to work on the site.

“If qualified professionals determine that the instability of the slope makes it unsafe for removal of the structure, we’ll have to look at other options,” he says.

READ MORE: RDCK working to help couple losing home in landslide

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society will build a trail on Mount Buchanan, seen here with society secretary Stuart Heard, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay trails receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Several locations in the West Kootenay are undergoing upgrades

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

The City of Trail met with RCMP and Community Development Services at its virtual GoC meeting Feb. 22. Photo: Jim Bailey
Frontline workers deliver presentation on Trail’s most vulnerable

Trail council met with RCMP and Community Development Services representatives on Monday

Champion Lakes Provincial Park is fun for the whole family and a close place to camp for Greater Trail residents. Discover Camping reservations for provincial parks open Mar. 8. Photo: Jim Bailey
Happy Kootenay campers set to book trips

BC residents can book their favourite close-to-home campground starting Mar. 8 on discovercamping.ca

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Most Read