Old Fort Landslide Update – July 3


OLD FORT DAILY UPDATE

There is a lot of new information in today’s update – please take a moment to read it all, and share it with others in the community.

Quick Summary

  • The regular water taxi service is suspended until further notice due to safety concerns. The service will restart as soon as is safely possible.
  • Evacuation from Old Fort for those out of essential supplies or in distress – an escorted evacuation method and ESS support plan has been developed for members wishing to leave the Old Fort community until regular access is restored.
  • Emergency Support Services – get the new contact information for ESS below.
  • Temporary Access Road – rough estimates, subject to weather and slide performance, for an emergency access road to the community.
  • River StatusGENERALLY UNSAFE as heavy rains and thundershower activity have extended freshet-like conditions across the region, impacting Old Fort

Water Taxi Service

Debris and high water flows have forced the cancellation of the hourly PRRD Emergency Water Taxi service between Old Fort and Peace Island Park. Service will be restored as soon as is safely possible.

To be notified by SMS text, call, and/or email of water taxi service resumption or service interruptions, sign up as an Old Fort resident on the North East BC Emergency & Public Alerts system.

Evacuation for Persons In Distress / Out of Essential Supplies

If you feel you can no longer remain at home due to dwindling supplies or anxiety, escorted access across the slide – during daylight hours only – is available. Supported by North Peace Search and Rescue, search and rescue volunteers – in partnership with the geo-technical review of the slide area – will be tasked to escort residents, with limited belongings, across the slide using an all-terrain vehicle. This is a one-way service – no escorted re-entry will be available.

To arrange this service:

  • First, to ensure you have lodging and other supports, contact the Emergency Support Services support number: 250-219-0447
  • ESS will arrange hotel and food supports for you and make arrangements with the EOC for the most suitable evacuation method.
  • The EOC will task NPSAR; their response time is 1 – 2 hours for this type of planned service so please plan your day accordingly.

Emergency Support Services

The new PRRD ESS team phone number is 250-219-0447 and will remain as such permanently. If you are in need of Emergency Support Services, please contact this number.

Peace River Regional District wishes to thank Fort St John ESS staff and volunteers who have supported Old Fort residents.

Emergency Water, Garbage and Sewage Services

The river situation has hampered our ability to deliver planned emergency water, garbage and sewage services.

While river flows are high and debris is extensive, our work crews will be providing services on an intermittent and only-as-safe basis using fan boats. This is not a replacement for the water taxi service. Trips will be for cargo except when supporting evacuation needs. Persons with vehicles at the Peace Island Park terminus can arrange for transport to their vehicle but there will be no return trip to Old Fort.

Over the next 72 hours the crews will focus on:

  • Removing garbage to issues with bears and other wildlife
  • Providing water to households in dire need. Note, only a low volume of water delivery is possible by boat.

Note: Only a low volume of water delivery is possible by boat; households concerned should consider evacuating to Fort St. John to receive support from Emergency Support Services until the temporary access road is possible, potentially by later next week.

To be notified by SMS text and/or email of water taxi service resumption or service interruptions, sign up as an Old Fort resident on the North East BC Emergency & Public Alerts system.

Future Road Access – Tentative Plan

MOTI and its road contractor are currently working on plans and pre-positioning materials and equipment in advance of a dryer weather trend starting Sunday. Geotechnical review of the slide area will determine when it is safe to start construction of what will initially be a temporary, supervised-use, access road. Initially, the road will be used to provide passage for essential services vehicles including household water, garbage and sewage services.

It isn’t likely that active construction of such an access road will be commence until later next week (Wednesday/Thursday);  planning, preparation and staging are ongoing. These are estimates only; weather or slide conditions could impact schedules or halt progress entirely.

We are committed to providing residents with relevant estimates and new information as soon as it is available from MoTI.

A full update from MoTI can be found by clicking here.

River Status – GENERALLY UNSAFE

Residents are advised against launching their boats in the Peace River at this time. PRRD EOC has suspended regular water taxi service until conditions improve. We may run some limited essential services operations using fan boats (no props in the water) if conditions allow for this, but we will not support regular water taxi service using this temporary, emergency, measure.

Heavy rains this past several days and widespread thundershower activity across the region and specifically near Old Fort and Fort St John have resulted in dramatic rises in river levels and debris. There remains significant potential for large volumes of debris in the river; the regular water taxi is suspended until further notice for safety reasons. When service resumes we will provide updates here, on the PRRD Facebook page, and direct via SMS and email to all Old Fort residents who are subscribed to the PRRD North East BC Emergency & Public Alerts system.  Only 1/3 of residents are subscribed at present – let’s make that 100% so that all can be alerted of changing or emergency developments now and in the future.