A Trail man is living out of a suitcase in a local hotel after a mudslide washed out a bank next to his river-side home on Thursday.
Gord Guesford can still briefly come and go from his house. However, he remains largely displaced since March 29, when the city declared a state of emergency for safety reasons and to initiate relief funds from the province.
“Not much has happened yet,” Guesford said Monday. “I’m in the process of waiting of what is going on, hopefully I’ll have some information in the next few days.”
Trail Mayor Mike Martin announced the local state of emergency specific to 2188 Riverside Avenue late Thursday.
The declaration was mandatory to evacuate Guesford and to gain access to the disaster financial resources available through the Provincial Emergency Program, the city stated.
“Safety of the resident is our main concern,” said Mayor Martin. “And with this declaration, the Regional Emergency Response Coordinator can access the disaster financial funds required to manage the costs associated with the displaced resident. Although a state of emergency declaration may sound alarming, we want to ensure Trail residents the slide area has been assessed by a landslide expert and no other homes are currently on evacuation alert.”
Guesford recounted his harrowing Thursday morning experience.
He recalled being jarred awake at 2:30 a.m. when the house began to shake. Next came a large bang and a loud roar.
“I’m a light sleeper so I got up immediately, and ran outside just in time to pull my truck ahead,” Guesford said. “It just missed my truck and it was still flowing across Casino Road (Riverside Ave.).”
The slide happened on a vacant city-owned property adjacent to Guesford’s home, where he has lived for five years.
However, the debris destroyed part of his railing, rock wall and water pooled in front of his home.
Guesford described the early-morning noise from the slide.
“It was really loud. A prolonged roar. It sounded like a backhoe dragging a bucket along the pavement,” he explained.
“It took a few minutes for it to move. It was slo-mo at first but then it released and it just went. It shook my house. I thought my house was coming down when I ran out.”
The city immediately advised Guesford to not stay in his house.
The other cruel twist, he said, is that insurance doesn’t cover landslides.
“The truth is if it’s not safe enough for me to live here, I still have to pay the mortgage,” Guesford said. “I’m not worried about the property, I’m worried about my safety.”
He pointed to the abundance of Japanese knot-weed growing along the bank.
“I’ve complained many times about this. It’s growing up behind my house and towards my neighbours. It’s really invasive and it de-stabilizes banks.”
Spring runoff also accumulates in the area, Guesford added.
“The city knows about it but they basically haven’t dealt with it.”
The City of Trail released its first statement Thursday morning regarding the slide on the 2200 block of Riverside Avenue.
“There is no impact to traffic along Riverside Avenue and there are no apparent risks to the structures in proximity to the slide; however, as a safety precaution, the resident adjacent to the slide area has been temporarily relocated while the Regional Emergency Response Coordinator makes an assessment.”