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Old Fort geotech study suspended amid lawsuit

Work put on hold as PRRD responds to lawsuit by residents
OldFortLandslide
Old Fort landslide, June 28, 2020.

Work on a geotechnical safety report of the Old Fort has been suspended, the PRRD says.

A report by TetraTech was due to the PRRD in the first quarter of this year, but work was suspended after residents sued the regional district in January over the impacts of landslides in 2018 and 2020, the PRRD acknowledged on Thursday.

“On the advice of the PRRD’s legal counsel, Tetra Tech’s work on the report has been paused while legal counsel reviews and responds to the lawsuit,” a statement from the PRRD reads.

“Given the nature of this ongoing litigation, the PRRD cannot commit to a date for the release of the Tetra Tech report. The PRRD will not be making any further statement or comment on this matter at this time.”

TetraTech was hired in 2018 to conduct hazard assessments of the Old Fort and Buffioux Creek areas following a landslide at the end of September 2018, which sent more than eight million cubic metres of earth and trees toward the Peace River, destroying one house, several utility lines, and the only road in and out of the community.

The slide let go again in June 2020 after more than 50 mm of heavy rain drenched Fort St. John and the North Peace region. Two homes above the community and a few in the community remain under evacuation alert.

A group of 35 residents filed a lawsuit for damages in January, and also named the province, the City of Fort St. John, Deasan Holdings Ltd., owners of the gravel pit at the head of the landslide, and BC Hydro in the suit.

[Eds. note: Article corrects and clarifies that work was suspended after residents sued the PRRD in January, not that work was suspended in January. The PRRD did not say when the decision was made in its statement.]


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