A home was knocked off its foundation by a mudslide in Sunnybrae on Friday. ~ Photo by Jim Elliot, Black Press A home was knocked off its foundation by a mudslide in Sunnybrae on Friday, April 7. ~ Photo by Jim Elliot, Black Press

Residents remain evacuated, popular trail closed indefinitely

The clean up continues after two landslides in Sunnybrae in April and May.

People still remain out of their homes and the clean up continues after two landslides in Sunnybrae in April and May.

In addition, public use of the popular Margaret Falls trails will likely be closed for the entire summer season.

The first slide, which took place April 7 in the 4400 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road, has left two families out of their home on an evacuation order. Two other properties remain on evacuation alert, which means residents must be ready to leave on short notice should conditions change.

“We are awaiting a geotechnical evaluation report,” says Darcy Mooney, operations manager for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, “Last we have been told is there is still a significant risk with material up the mountain, so we will not be doing until we have the expert advice.”

Mooney says they are working with the owners on some supervised return to their properties to retrieve belongings.

“The creek levels in that area are dropping, so that’s a good sign,” says Mooney.

The second slide, on May 5 in the 5900 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road also has two properties still on evacuation order, and Mooney says this will remain in place for at least another week. Again, the CSRD, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Forests Lands and Resource Operations are awaiting a report from a hydrologist into the safety and structure of Robinson Creek before making any determinations.

“That creek used to flow under the rock and underneath before the road. Now it is exposed and is running overland all the way to the lake. So we are looking at possible ways to relocate the creek within the alluvial fan to alleviate any impacts to homes,” says Mooney.

Mooney says a geologists report in the area indicated minimal risk of additional slides in the immediate future, but the water situation is creating concern.

Roy Sharp, 75, was killed in that incident and his body was recovered from the slide area on May 31.

Margaret Falls Trail suffered serious damage as a result of high water levels.

“There is a high likelihood that the trail will not be available for public use this season,” reads a statement from BC Parks.

It notes run-off conditions and mudslides in the canyon have completely destroyed sections of this trail.

“Bridges have been torn from their footings and the river course has been re-routed in many sections. The trail and facilities will require an engineer’s assessment and estimate prior to any remedial work being completed, which will take place once current water levels begin to recede.”

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