By Laura Keil

Over the past week, Lakes District Maintenance, Ministry of Transportation workers and local contractors have been busy clearing the rocky mess of Mountain View Road after debris slides tore down the mountain July 4th and following days.

Some 30 residences were caught behind the slide, and residents were advised to “shelter in place.”

Boat access began July 9th and on July 11th, they managed to put through a single lane and allowed local essential traffic to pass through during set times, with the help of a pilot car. The Regional District continues to warn about unstable conditions on the slope above.

A July 12th public notice said the Ministry continues to fly the Willox Creek drainage channel daily with geotechnical engineers to assess the stability and their engineering team has observed a 200m section of the upper channel with fresh stress cracking indicating imminent collapse. They also warned that woody debris falling into the drainage channel has high risk for blockages that can result in further flows.

The depth of debris on the road. The debris flow pushed approx. 25,000 cubic meters of material along Willox Creek and across Mountain View Road./GOV PHOTO

“It’s vitally important for the safety of residents that they remain outside of the evacuation zone. Debris flows are dangerous, rapid moving events that occur with little to no warning.”

Two seniors had to climb through a window to escape their flooded home which was caught in the July 4th mudslide.

The Regional District and the Province continue to monitor and assess the slope. Photos of the hillside and the creekbed show widespread devastation.

On Tuesday, the Regional District stopped offering the emergency boat service for residents, now that daytime road access is available.

Last week, emergency boat access was arranged for residents trapped behind the Mountain View slide. Local nurse, Shelly Cousineau used the water taxi to get to work on Friday morning. She was on the 6:00am trip and was provided lap blankets to keep warm. “The boat operators, (Russell and Dylan) were on time and friendly,” she said. Another passenger was grateful when Dylan looped around to retrieve her hat that had flown off during the trip up the river. Both boat operators are happy to be available to help out in this situation. The Blue River-based River Safari tour company saw bookings plummet this season. The lower demand for tours allowed them to aid McBride at this time with boats and operators until the road access is declared open and the risk of more blockages is as minimal as possible. /PHOTOS ANDRU MCCRACKEN, CAPTION ANDREA ARNOLD

The evacuation order for the area around Willox Creek is still in effect and the area beyond the slide is only open for essential local travel. The District says there is no stopping in the evacuation order area and the general public should avoid the area. They said residents can expect delays up to 30 minutes. As of presstime, the road was not suitable for motorcycles, small vehicles or vehicles with low clearance. Construction equipment, maintenance contractor staff and geotechnical staff remain on site, and assessments and work are ongoing. Construction will continue in order to provide a more all”¬źweather road surface.

See more photos here:
[rl_gallery id=”44363″]