Power restored, water taxi established to Old Fort

Power has been restored to Old Fort, and a water taxi to ferry residents in and out made its first rounds this morning.

The Peace River Regional District has set up the service to run in the morning and afternoon to take residents to and from their homes to town via the Peace River to Taylor.

"It's so that people can get out to do what they need to do," a spokesperson said.

Power was restored to the neighbourhood Tuesday night.

Electricity was cut Monday as a hillside just west of Old Fort continued to slump, ripping a huge slab away from the hill and pulling dirt, trees, several power poles and the only road to Old Fort along with it.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says the slide remains very active and continues to move.

"Ministry staff are monitoring the slide and crews are on standby to re-establish the road once the slide comes to a rest. However, it is still not safe to enter the slide zone at this time," a ministry official said.

The Old Fort subdivision is under evacuation alert, which may turn into an evacuation order, the official said. The evacuation order would not be due to imminent threat of damage to structures, but rather the lack of services, such as electricity, they said.

"Two structures may be required to be put on evacuation order soon. Approximately half of the properties have voluntarily evacuated by boat, and an Emergency Social Services reception centre has been activated in Fort St. John," the ministry official said.

The slide began sometime overnight on Sept. 30. Residents have described the slide as similar to a lava flow.

The Ministry of Transportation closed the only road to Old Fort a short time later, cutting off water to the community which depends on trucked supplies. It's unclear at this time how water supplies are being addressed. 

The slide is not far from the construction area for BC Hydro's Site C dam. BC Hydro says it's monitoring the situation closely but there is no evidence that work on the dam is linked to the collapse. 

It's unclear at this time exactly what impact a gravel pit operation above the landslide had on triggering the slide. 

The ministry says the cause of the slide isn't known at this time. 

"Once the slide stops moving and it is safe to enter the slide zone, ministry staff will assess the situation," the official said.

Information on the clean-up and road repair will be shared as it becomes available.

— with files from the Canadian Press

Old Fort landslide, Oct. 3, 2018.
Old Fort landslide, Oct. 3, 2018.


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