Kimberley Council receives slope assessment report

Provincial study says more slides possible on Blarchmont (Overwaitea) Hill

There have been several sloughs and slides on Overwaitea Hill in the past few years.

There have been several sloughs and slides on Overwaitea Hill in the past few years.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations conducted a slope assessment of Blarchmont Hill (above Overwaitea) in 2013 and the study was finally sent to Council this month, where it was received.

Several small debris slides have occurred in recent years and there tends to be visible seepage on the hill each spring. Because provincial highway 95A runs up the hill, the province wanted to assess the stability of the hill.

One of the things the report found is that prior to the construction of the Overwaitea store at the bottom of the hill in 1973, the toe of the hill extended beyond the building footprint. The hill was also used as a ski jump in the 1940s.

The report concludes that the natural geometry and geology of the hill above Overwaitea combined with possible slope excavation at the time of, or before, construction has resulted in unstable slopes. The last few freshets have had large late snowpacks. Future landslides are possible, the report says.

The report had five recommendations ­— to be carried out by the province, none of which, Council noted, have been done.

It was recommended that previous local landslide events be documented in terms on dates, location, size and run-out distances and angles, and the amount of either rain or snowfall at these events.

It was also recommended that a site survey be conducted to determine the elevations and distances of potential landslide zones, and determine the potential future landslide volume and runout distances. It was also recommended that the possibility of reducing the groundwater table be explored.

The full report on Blarchmont Hill is available at the city website.

 

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