After two years, evacuation order lifted for Johnson's Landing
The Evacuation Order in place since the July 12th, 2012 landslide in Johnsons Landing that killed four residents and destroyed and damaged a number of homes will be rescinded, effective 12:01 a.m., July 31th, 2014.
“We waited until 2014 freshet had ended before making a decision to lift the order,” said Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Chair John Kettle.
“This past two years has allowed the regional district to work with the Provincial government to make sure that all outstanding issues concerning the landslide were addressed. I feel confident that RDCK staff, by working directly with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, has put in place operational standards that address the ongoing issues with respect to the landslide. I wish to personally thank Minister Steve Thomson for staying engaged and committed.
“Additionally I want to thank Electoral Area D Director Andy Shadrack for his unwavering support to pursue and work with the Province on all these issues. Regional district staff can now do their duty and continue the work that has been put in place through their efforts and the Province’s, over the past two years.”
RDCK Chief Administrative Officer Brian Carruthers cautioned that the removal of the evacuation order does not mean there is no risk in returning. Residents need to be aware of the hazards and make their own decision on whether to return or not.
“Hazard areas identified as part of the Johnsons Landing Landslide Hazard and Risk Assessment Report make it clear that there are varying degrees of hazard –and accompanying risk of the possibility of future landslides– in the area of the slide,” Carruthers said.
“Depending on where your property is located, these range from Very High to Moderate. We urge everyone who has been impacted by this order to be aware, informed and knowledgeable in their decision-making.”
At the July 17, 2014 Board meeting, the RDCK Board of Directors received information and considered recommendations associated with the Johnsons Landing Risk Hazard Assessment Report.
Resolutions were passed to issue warning letters to residents and property owners of Johnsons Landing, advising of the risks associated with occupying lands within the hazard areas and to provide regional district-wide seasonal information on the RDCK web site, media releases and distribution of a debris flow awareness brochure.
Additionally, the Board was advised of commitments by the Province to continue monitoring of the landslide area and to restrict future resource development of Crown land above Johnsons Landing.
The future of the temporary channel reinforcement on Gar Creek will require further evaluation.
“This has been a long and arduous process and I hope that the lessons learned from this event will help communities facing similar circumstances in the future,” said Kettle.