- Our Town
McIntrye Creek area still unsafe for residents
A month after the McIntyre Creek slide, area residents are concerned they’re still not permitted to return to their properties.
At a meeting on May 20 in Salmon Arm, evacuees of the April 23 slide were told a work plan has been put in place, but it’s still unknown when it will be safe for them to return.
The Shuswap Emergency Program hosted the meeting, set up to answer residents’ questions and address concerns. It was also attended by representatives from Emergency Management B.C., the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and Westrek Geotechnical Services Ltd.
Westrek will be going ahead with a proposed plan to analyze what caused the debris flow and determine the likelihood of such incidents occurring in the future to ensure safety. The work plan is proposed to take until mid-June.
Kevin Turner of Westrek stated they have established that the area was built on previous landslide sites, but they aren’t sure what the cause of the slide boils down to and will be investigating further.
Residents expressed their concern about not being allowed access to their properties since the slide occurred.
“We are suffering real hard here,” said Bo Wilson, a resident who has been evacuated. “There doesn’t seem to be any urgency with what’s happening, nothing has been done to protect our property.”
Gary Holte, interim leader of CSRD’s Environment and Engineering services, stated that investigators have been working, but they are taking their time as they don’t want to short cut.
Resident Ken Gummo noted there was a significant amount of debris on his property and his home had suffered damage, yet he has been unable to access his property in order to clean it up.
“We have invested a lot of our capital and our dreams of hope and retirement,” said Gummo. “We haven’t been allowed to go in to deal with the messes.”
Holte stated that he understands the emotions people are dealing with but CSRD doesn’t have the level of confidence in safety required to let people attend to their properties just yet.
“We do feel (your concerns) and understand the emotional investment that you have made,” said RCMP Sgt. Carlos Tettolowski. “It sucks, but we would rather see another broken window than anyone harmed.”
Anne Clarke, evacuated resident, stated she is concerned about another debris flow happening in the area.
Turner agreed they’re unpredictable.
“Landslides are really dangerous, they occur without warning and we can’t put people in harm’s way.”
Gummo also stated that the repair done on the roads after the debris slide created significant damage to land owners’ driveways.
Murray Tekano, the Ministry of Transportation’s manager of the Okanagan Shuswap District, said the ministry will look into the issue.
“We’re wanting to work with you to work around those repairs,” said Tekano.