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Terrace home evacuated due to land erosion

Climate change could cause more problems for property near Kitsumkalum River
A home was evacuated on McConnell Crescent due to bank erosion and landslides. (Michael Bramadat-Willcock/Terrace Standard)

The City of Terrace ordered the evacuation of a property on McConnell Crescent due to bank erosion and landslides that have been affecting properties in the area since at least 2017. Over the past 5 years portions of the original land parcel of four affected properties slid down into the river as the escarpment continues to erode behind the homes.

City spokesperson Tyler Clarke said staff have been in contact with the owner of the single evacuated home in advance. The owner was prepared to leave and had another place to go in the meantime, Clarke said. The city also declared a state of local emergency on Wednesday (July 6) that Clarke said was a procedural part of the process for evacuating the home.

In 2017 there was a landslide on the Kitsumkalum River to the south of 5416 and 5418 McConnell Crescent. At that time, the city applied a rock filled blanket across the length of the slope.

This was followed by another landslide behind one of the properties in 2019. Enough soil was removed from the bottom of the slope behind one property that the slope failed as erosion continued to eat into the bank.

By 2021 there had already been extensive loss to the now evacuated property and neighbours had also suffered from erosion due to the landslides.

Last February property owners asked for urgent assistance from the city to get funding to mitigate damage of the slide and subsequent erosion behind properties on McConnell Crescent and Stellars Jay Drive to prevent further damage or loss.

Due to climate change the city estimated there there would likely be more problems in the landslide area, along the bank of the Kitsumkalum River, that could continue to affect adjacent properties.

As of last year the river had moved about one kilometre over the course of 80 years.

Grant funding came through last August for the city to develop a broader mitigation plan for the Kalum River. The project was awarded to McElhanney in January 2022 and is expected to be delivered in September.

The city said on Wednesday that staff have monitored this situation and communicated with some of the surrounding property owners to understand the frequency and extent of the enlarging landslide and its impact.

The city has hired McElhanney to monitor the properties on a weekly basis and report back.

Taylor Geotechnical Engineering was hired to conduct a geotechnical survey of the hillside to determine the slope’s stability, and to make recommendations on evacuation alerts and orders.

More to come


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