BRITISH COLUMBIA

750 Homes Sliding Away In Quesnel, B.C.

05/23/2013 09:56 EDT | Updated 07/23/2013 05:12 EDT
Officials in Quesnel, B.C., are trying to save 750 homes and an elementary school from shifting, as an ancient landslide causes land in the area to gradually slip every year.

Land in the area, about 120 kilometres south of Prince George, has been slipping two to seven centimetres each year, damaging homes, water lines and other infrastructure.

The slipping is caused by water pressure stemming from a large, ancient landslide that was only discovered about a decade ago.

Quesnel resident Heinz Loelke says he's not too optimistic about the future of the homes. Some days, he can't even open his front door.

"The front door is moving sometimes, and not moving. Right now it's now easy. Then there's a time you cannot hardly open it. You have to use the back door."

The walls, ceiling and foundation of his home are riddled with cracks and he's discovering new problems every day.

Jack Marsh, project manager of the city's land stability project, said not all the buildings are affected in the same way.

"Some of the infrastructure and the houses move with the whole slide. And others, whether they be near a fault or whatever, will have some damage," he said.

"The city has had some water lines pull apart in that area at different times. Some houses have foundation cracks, shifting, settling."

Last year the city drilled 11 horizontal drain sites, and 13 pumping wells to remove some of the groundwater. The hope is that this will create more stability.

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