SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Líl’wat Nation advocate for immediate funding to quantify hazard and risk
Pemberton, BC (November 25, 2016) – The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) was briefed this week by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations (MFLNRO) and Emergency Management BC (EMBC) addressing concern about the increased rock fall activity on Mount Currie. The briefing followed an October 24, 2016 MFLNRO Information Note, “2016 Mount Currie Rock Fall and Local Instabilities,” prepared by engineering staff from MFLNRO Coast Engineering Group which identified concerns regarding potential instability along the Mount Currie Ridge and the subsequent potential impacts to Pemberton Valley residents.
Local officials from the SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Líl’wat Nation have requested funding from the Province to move forward immediately on the report’s recommendation to secure a more detailed geo-technical analysis to quantify the hazard, evaluate the risk and recommend potential risk reduction options.
A September 8, 2016 helicopter flight was taken by MFLNRO and SLRD representatives to identify the source of rock falls reported by local residents and BC Wildfire Service Pemberton Fire Base staff this summer. (See http://www.slrd.bc.ca/inside-slrd/notices/s/officials-pinpoint-source-recent-rockfall-mt-currie-natural-process-and-likely-continue.) A second site visit was made by MFLNRO Coast Engineering Group staff on September 27, 2016 to take measurements and estimate the volume of the initial rock fall.
The Information Note estimates the rock fall reported in early September had a volume of approximately 10,000 – 15,000 m3, with subsequent activity in the intervening weeks generating an additional 20,000 – 30,000 m3. The Note states that “although rock falls of the recent size do not pose a risk to valley residents, the exposure of larger volumes of unsupported bedrock potentially could result in rock fall events that do pose risk to valley residents.” The report recommends a further detailed analysis to determine the potential types and size of landslides that might occur, and to determine the actual risk to the public.
The Information Note is available on the SLRD website: www.slrd.bc.ca/mount-currie-rock-fall.
“The Pemberton Valley is a dynamic environment, and now we have a little more insight into the scope and scale of the hazard,” says the SLRD’s Emergency Program Manager Ryan Wainwright. “That being said, we need to get more information before we can fully understand the risk to valley residents. We’re committed to ensuring that our communities are kept informed as we work with our partners to understand this hazard more thoroughly.”
The three governments have formally requested that EMBC immediately provide Provincial funding to initiate the study detailed in the Information Note, and that MFLNRO continue to monitor the hazard until the study has been completed. EMBC has advised that it is committed to discussing the situation at the executive level; a response regarding the potential for funding is expected as early as next week.
Residents’ vigilance and observation has been appreciated.
The SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Líl’wat Nation will continue to coordinate information and share updates about the situation and pursue further support from the Provincial and Federal governments.