A small landslide along the banks of the Peace River in Hudson’s Hope has prompted the closure of the town library and seniors club.
BC Hydro says 500 cubic metres of material sloughed into the river on Sept. 24 where crews are building a shoreline protection berm as part of Site C dam construction.
“These types of sloughing events are known to occur naturally along the shoreline in Hudson’s Hope due to the geography in the area,” said project spokesman David Conway. “We took immediate action to make the area safe and geotechnical experts are now on site working on a solution to stabilize the slope.”
In a Sept. 28 letter to residents, BC Hydro said the sloughing took place along an area 25 metres across and 15 metres high. The company says it took initial steps to place large riprap below the sloughing “to prevent further undercutting of the slope.”
“Once stabilization is complete, geotechnical experts will determine the cause of the sloughing and advise on whether additional measures are required,” the letter stated. “We’re confident the stabilizing measures we will put in place will allow us to safely resume construction in a timely manner.”
In its own public notice, the District of Hudson's Hope said the slide is “being undermined by a natural spring.” The library and New Horizons building have been closed until further notice as a precaution, and until the slope is stabilized.
Hudson’s Hope Mayor Dave Heiberg says residents and homeowners along the bank have been updated on the situation and are not in danger.
“As far as extent and cause, those are kind of unknowns right now. From what I understand from BC Hydro is that the geotechs on site are evaluating the situation as we speak,” said Heiberg. “We’ll just have to wait and see what the geotechs have to say. I don’t know how long we’ll have to keep people out of the library, but it’s better safe than sorry.”
BC Hydro says the shoreline berm is made of riprap, rocks, and gravel, and will reinforce and protect it from erosion once the dam’s reservoir is filled.
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News