Utility, transportation crews granted entry into Old Fort

Utility and transportation crews have been granted access back into Old Fort, while another 32 residents made it in this week collect belongings and prepare their homes for winter.

The Peace River Regional District says it’s issued temporary access permits to BC Hydro and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure so crews can assess how to re-establish power and a road.

It’s part of a staged re-entry to Old Fort as geotechnical experts continue to study and monitor a landslide that forced residents to evacuate earlier this month.

Transportation officials are looking at two options to establish temporary road access.

One is to punch a path over top of the landslide where it destroyed Old Fort Road, the only road in and out of the community. That would take between three to five days to be established. 

A second option would be to establish road access off the Site C dam site entrance and hop over two islands in the Peace River and into the community. That would take between seven to 10 days to establish, however, the landslide has encroached on one of the islands.

The landslide began Sept. 30 and forced an evacuation order on Oct. 7.

It has since grown to more than eight million cubic metres, and some parts of it continues to move. However, no slope movement has been found above most of the homes in Old Fort, according to the latest findings. Further ground work will be carried out Thursday.

On Tuesday, 32 more residents were taken back to their homes by boat via the Peace River, and given two hours to collect belongings and winterize their homes. More residents are scheduled to re-enter Thursday as long as it is deemed safe, the regional district said.

A resiliency centre will also be opened on Thursday for impacted residents. It's being managed by the Red Cross to provide support services and information to residents on behalf of the regional district.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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