NEWS

Johnsons Landing homes must be abandoned, says report

05/23/2013 06:29 EDT | Updated 07/23/2013 05:12 EDT
A new geotechnical report on the Johnsons Landing landslide has concluded as many as 18 properties could be hit by another slide and residents will likely never be able to return home.

More than 300,000 cubic meters of debris roared down the side of the mountain slicing the rural community in half on July 12, 2012, killing four people and destroying several homes on the shore of Kootenay Lake.

Residents are now being told the slide path remains unstable and more debris could slide down the mountain side at any time, making it unsafe to be in their homes or on their land.

The report concludes 14 of the 18 properties are at high or very high risk of being hit by another slide.

The B.C. government is holding a public meeting in Johnsons Landing Thursday night to discuss these issues, but recovery manager Deb Borsos says the news will be hard for many to accept.

"Well I think it's pretty devastating for some people. Others probably expected the answer they got and are going to move on. They have to move on with the information they're been told," said Borsos.

Residents react

Residents like Harvey Armstrong have also just been told the province has no plans to buy their properties, like the one he bought 40 years ago, or give them special compensation.

"It didn't come down far enough to destroy the buildings on the place, but they are unusable," said Armstrong,

"I think there is an expectation there is a safety net when things like this happen. And what we found out is basically there isn't."

Jillian Madill owns a home and guesthouse in the area, and has now been told more than seven hectares of land is useless.

Geotechnicians told the Madills another slide could come down any time and it's too dangerous to rebuild.

She says the province refuses to buy their land.

"We had a wonderful life and thought we'd spend the most of the rest of our days there," she said.

"I think people will be astounded because I think people do believe there is help."

MORE:cbcNews