Williams Lake landslide sends equivalent of 75,000 truckloads of debris into river; 3 properties evacuated
City councillor says heavy rains could have caused even worse damage
A landslide in an industrial area northwest of downtown Williams Lake, B.C., has prompted an evacuation order for three properties and the entire River Valley Trail.
City Coun. Scott Nelson says crews immediately started working on clearing nearly million cubic metres of land that fell into a creek valley Saturday and risked causing tremendous damage to critical infrastructure like bridges downriver.
"The guys were just relentless," he said, adding that the water in the creek below rose nearly one metre in 20 minutes after the slide. "They did a fabulous job."
About half the mountainside has slid into the creek, Nelson said, the equivalent of about 75,000 truck loads of debris. The slide has transformed parts of the riverbank from steep cliff into a long, smooth slope, he added.
If the trees and other debris had moved further down the creek, Nelson said, they could have smashed out bridges along the way. The bridges were recently fixed from the damage caused by flooding this spring.
Nelson said water is rising throughout the Cariboo region at the moment. There's been heavy rain in the area over the last three or four days, flooding up to 300 basements and damaging a large part of the steep sides of the river valley.
Increasing issues with flooding in the area means that these types of critical incidents will continue to be a problem, Nelson said, and will drastically alter the landscape for the businesses there.
"[The land] keeps eroding year after year after year," he said. "Soon they're going to have no property."
With files from Jenifer Norwell