TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO The site of the 2016 Beach Drive landslide.

Update on Port McNeill’s Beach Drive landslide

Port McNeill has a history of landslides, due to the steep embankment above Beach Drive.

Port McNeill council received a report from newly appointed Deputy Administrator Pete Nelson-Smith regarding slides and slide hazards along Beach Drive.

In the report, Nelson-Smith stated the town of Port McNeill “has been actively seeking solutions to the slides and slide hazards along Beach Drive, culminating in the McQuarrie Report and overburden pull back which is slated to begin soon. One of the McQuarrie Report mitigation solutions is to alleviate the amount of storm water that is running along the till.”

Nelson-Smith stated the public works department has “begun storm water catchment improvements by keeping drainage ditches clear and installing new culverts, however, to mitigate further risks to the community, we believe a full Town storm water assessment and storm water retrieval plan should be looked at to be able to deal with rain events such as the one experienced in 2016.”

Port McNeill has a history of landslides, due to the steep embankment above Beach Drive. Here are a few of the more significant landslides described in past reports:

• October 1981: several small slides were reported plus one larger slide that ran out beyond the road near 2238 Beach Drive;

• Oct. 8, 1992: five failures noted including one that ran out across the road between 2388 and 2400 Beach Drive;

• Feb. 11, 1999: a slide ran out across the road onto the property at 2146 Beach Drive;

• Nov. 16 2002: a slide ran out across the road and onto the property at 2168 Beach Drive. This slide is immediately east of the 1999 slide;

• April 8, 2003: a small slide occurred opposite 2226 Beach Drive, close to the October 1981 slide but did not reportedly cross the road;

• March 29, 2015: a slide occurred opposite 2298 Beach Drive, below a culvert outlet. The slide reached the road and moved some of the barriers, but was mostly contained;

• Feb. 5, 2016: a small slide is reported by the town, but no location given; and

• Nov. 9, 2016: a few small slides plus one larger slide that crossed the road and damaged the house at 2324 Beach Drive. This slide was very close to the March 2015 slide.

Nelson-Smith recommended council consider his report and “have staff prepare an application to receive funding through the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund to have a storm water assessment and flood mitigation plan prepared for the Town of Port McNeill.”

Based on the total cost of the assessments for our town buildings, “it can be assumed that a minimum of $50,000 would be required to have an educated professional assess our community and prepare short term and long term solutions to any storm water issues,” wrote Nelson-Smith, adding “the UBCM grant we are looking at has a maximum input of 100 per cent up to $150,000.”

“One question I have is how much were you thinking of asking for?” asked Coun. Shelley Downey.

“Around $50,000…” said Nelson-Smith.

“So the money would be for a water hydrologist?” asked Coun. Graham MacDonald.

“That’s right,” answered Nelson-Smith.

“A water hydrologist is going to give us some good information on how to deal with that water coming down, which is what’s causing problems on Beach Drive,” replied MacDonald.

Coun. Jay Dixon then jumped into the conversation, stating council needs to “move forward with this application for a grant.”

Council approved Nelson-Smith’s request to apply for funding through the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.

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