As more landslides expected, Whitehorse cautions some to prepare in case they become trapped

·2 min read
The area around Jeckell Street and 6th Avenue has been fenced off due to the landslides.  (Chris Windeyer/ CBC - image credit)
The area around Jeckell Street and 6th Avenue has been fenced off due to the landslides. (Chris Windeyer/ CBC - image credit)

As more landslides are expected in Whitehorse, the city has distributed packages to some residents that includes advice on how to prepare for the possibility of being trapped.

The packages were delivered to residents who live in the areas where landslides are expected to occur.

This includes instructions such as having enough supplies ready to last for 72 hours, and signs to go in residents' windows that say HELP or OK.

Taylor Espheter, manager of engineering services for the city, said the package is precautionary.

"So it's just some, you know, some general emergency preparedness information in there," he said.

Chris Windeyer/ CBC
Chris Windeyer/ CBC

The city said in a news release the landslides are being caused by groundwater exiting the escarpment slope, and additional experts are being brought in to further assess the situation.

An earlier release said officials are monitoring the entire escarpment and responding to landslides. The public is being told to avoid the base of the escarpment and closed-off areas such as Sixth Avenue from Jeckell Street to Drury Street, and the dog park at the end of Main Street.

The city announced on Sunday it has expanded the number of fenced perimeters at the base of the escarpment as a safety measure.

The release also said there is no risk to the public or private properties.

'We're just seeing more slides'

Dave Newell lives on Wood Street, close to one of the landslides, and has lived in that area for decades.

He said there have been landslides in the past, but they are becoming more frequent.

"So it's not new to me. But, you know, it's obviously, with more snow, now we're just seeing more slides," Newell said.

Submitted by Amy Smarch
Submitted by Amy Smarch

Anne Middler lives near the escarpment but a bit further from the area that could be at risk.

She said the city is in a tough position with its response, but she thinks officials made the right call closing off certain areas.

"You'll have people who think you're doing too much or not doing enough," she said.

"But I think this is one example of where they took a precaution. And it was wise and it was prudent and it kept people out of here when there was a risk."

Cleanup on earlier landslide had just begun

The situation comes after the city had just started cleaning up a massive landslide that occurred late last month.

That landslide was the result of about 3,000 to 4,000 cubic metres of sand, silt and clay that fell from the escarpment across Robert Service Way and the Millennium Trail, and then into the Yukon River.

The city said the current sliding is not caused by the recent construction of the sheet piling wall along Robert Service Way.

Anyone who witnesses a landslide is asked to report it to the city at 867-667-2111.

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