NEWS

Ocean Falls landslide cleanup to begin soon, says B.C. roads contractor

02/11/2015 04:27 EST | Updated 04/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Two weeks after a landslide split in half the remote coastal B.C. community of Ocean Falls, the road maintenance contractor charged with clearing up says crews will finally be able to begin work.

The landslide came down in the tiny town on Jan. 30, and it took geotechnical crews and an environmental consultant more than a week to assess the debris and figure out a procedure for cleanup.

"It's just a very difficult place to get to geographically," said Larry Nelson with Interior Roads, which is based in Kamloops, B.C and is shipping equipment from Bella Coola, 100 kilometres away.

"It's a full day to transport equipment up to Ocean Falls," said Nelson, whose team finally loaded up the heavy equipment needed onto a barge at Bella Coola on Tuesday — an eight and a half hour ferry ride from Ocean Falls.

Landslide debris blocking harbour access

The approximately 50 residents of Ocean Falls have understandably been getting antsy about the cleanup delay.

The slide debris is blocking a road that connects two harbours, and while people have been getting around by boat, some are starting to worry about what would happen in the case of an emergency.

"If the power goes out, if something happens to the power line along this end, the bucket truck [cherry picker] is over at Boralex [on the town side] and how will we get our power fixed?" said Sharon Cartier, who is one of roughly two dozen locals who live in the residential area called Martin Valley.

"And on the other hand, if there's a fire at the town side area … the fire truck's over here."

This is not the first time Ocean Falls has been hit by a landslide. In 1965, seven people were killed when another slide tore through the small community.

Google Map: Ocean Falls, B.C.

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