NORTH ISLAND GAZETTE FILE PHOTO The site of the Beach Drive 2016 landslide in Port McNeill.

Port McNeill releases in-depth Beach Drive landslide report

“It’s very positive,” said the town’s Public Works Foreman Julian Allen.

The Town of Port McNeill is getting closer and closer towards stopping future landslides from happening.

A report was released to the public at the town’s last council meeting that featured an in-depth update on the landslide hazard issues along the escarpment above Beach Drive.

“As requested, WSP Canada Inc. (WSP) has carried out a geotechnical review relating to the ongoing landslide hazard associated with a former foreshore slope along Beach Drive,” states the report from WSP, adding, “The following presents the results of a background information review and site reconnaissance and provides geotechnical discussion and recommendations relating to the local landslide hazard along with potential mitigation measures to reduce the hazard. Further geotechnical engineering services will be required as the project develops.”

The report continues, stating that the following work has occurred over the last several months:

– Staff prepared a tender for the pull-back of the slope crest in front of the apartment building where test pits had been excavated;

– The geotechnical engineering firm the town had been using, advised the town that due to other commitments, the firm would not be able to oversee the project;

– The town sourced a new engineering firm, WSP Engineering (WSP), which indicated that they had the manpower to take on the engineering role;

– WSP prepared a report indicating that the work should be phased into two sectors, Near Term Works and Intermediate/Longer Term Works;

– The Near Term Works were identified as:

a. Extend the municipal storm water pipes to a suitable discharge point

b. Where practical connect private storm water pipes

c. Implement a community awareness program

d. Pull back the slope crest within the apartment building property.

– The Intermediate/Long Term Works were identified as:

a. Storm water mapping and preparation of a storm water plan

b. Upgrades to the storm water system

c. Assess the high hazard zone and develop design concept for hazard mitigation, which may include anchor mesh systems and interception measures

d. Assess the low to moderate hazard to the west.

“It’s very positive,” said the town’s Public Works Foreman Julian Allen, noting he has recently spoken with WSP via conference call and it went so well they actually ended up having a site visit on July 13.

“That’s fantastic,” replied Mayor Shirley Ackland, before asking if anyone at the council table had any questions regarding the report.

Coun. Graham MacDonald wanted to know where the water hydrology grant they applied for is currently at.

“As you’re aware, we got $50,000 for some kind of study for water hydrology and also $50,000 for a landslide analysis,” said the town’s Treasurer Dan Rodin, who added the town “might have a problem defining when it’s a water problem and when it’s a landslide problem … It would be wonderful if we could tie it all in together because that would give us an extra $100,000 to work on this problem.”

“That’s what the water hydrology grant is for, to get directions from professional people on how to do that,” replied MacDonald. “We need to go back to this water hydrology grant, get the water hydrology people here, and get that study done so that the other people have something to look at down the road.”

“With (regards to) the hydrologist, what we’re doing with Beach Drive is we didn’t want to put our cart before the horse and get the work done before we had all the information to move forward with, because the problems are closely intertwined — we’re working on the mitigation and the study at the same time, and it (water hydrology) hasn’t fallen off our radar,” replied Deputy Administrator Pete Nelson-Smith.

Council then agreed to receive and file the report so that residents would be able to know exactly where the project currently stands.

The last landslide to happen on Beach Drive was back on Nov. 9, 2016.

A few small slides happened, plus one larger slide that crossed the road and damaged the house at 2324 Beach Drive.

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