A slow moving landslide is seen inching down a hillside in northern British Columbia, prompting the evacuation of nearby Old Fort, B.C., in an undated handout photo. A report from British Columbia’s chief inspector of mines says it may never be possible to tell what led to a slowly moving landslide that had the potential to wipe out a tiny northeastern B.C. community. B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lands, Marten Geertsema

A slow moving landslide is seen inching down a hillside in northern British Columbia, prompting the evacuation of nearby Old Fort, B.C., in an undated handout photo. A report from British Columbia’s chief inspector of mines says it may never be possible to tell what led to a slowly moving landslide that had the potential to wipe out a tiny northeastern B.C. community. B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lands, Marten Geertsema

Report finds no obvious cause of Old Fort landslide in northeastern B.C.

The ministry report does not address the latest slide

A report from British Columbia’s chief inspector of mines says the cause of a slow-moving landslide that has threatened a tiny B.C. community may never be determined.

The steep slope above Old Fort slumped over several days in 2018, tearing out the only road and prompting evacuations in the community of about 150 just outside Fort St. John.

The report, posted to the B.C. government website in October, says despite geotechnical assessments, the root cause of the slide remains “inconclusive.”

The first cracks in the earth were noticed in September 2018 at an active gravel pit at the top of the slope where work remains suspended after parts of it slipped 10 metres within hours.

The study says it’s not clear if a cause “will ever be determined with certainty,” but that the pit’s stockpile of gravel combined with natural slope instability and rain that was 44 per cent above average may all have been factors.

The report makes four findings, including one calling on the Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources to issue an alert aimed at improving industry awareness of geohazard risks at other B.C. gravel pits, reminding them to consider and plan for those risks.

Owners of all but a handful of properties were allowed to return to Old Fort by late 2018, but slow-speed slumping resumed again this year, buckling the enclave’s only road for a second time and prompting evacuation alerts.

The ministry report does not address the latest slide.

Whatever changes occurred before the 2018 Old Fort slide, the report says it was enough to change the condition of a marginally stable Peace River Valley slope, resulting in the slide.

“Given the large volume of the slide, the small changes in topography that preceded it, and the lack of a clear and definitive event trigger, it is possible that if the slide had not occurred on September 29, 2018, it could have occurred at some future date — whether triggered by natural events or human activity,” the report says.

The Peace River Regional District said in June that information from technical specialists had determined “the risk to the community posed by the (2020) Old Fort slide movements is low.”

The district’s website shows six properties, or parts of properties, remain evacuated due to the original slide, more than two years after it happened.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Most Read