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UPDATED: RDCK removes evacuation alert for Johnsons Landing

In 2012, a major mudslide devastated the community of Johnsons Landing. — File photo

Residents in Johnsons Landing can breathe a little easier after the Regional District of Central Kootenay removed the evacuation alert Tuesday afternoon.

In a medla release Tuesday, the RDCK said it was determined that the small slide and debris flood were minor in nature.

"The RDCK is asking the public to remain vigilant and to stay aware of the condition of Gar Creek. Spring melt and coming rain could bring further debris down the creek channel," the media release said.

"The reception centre at the Argenta Community Hall has been closed as it did not appear to be needed.

"However, should residents require support, they are encouraged to contact Kaslo Social Services."

The RDCK thanks residents, emergency social services, and Ministry representatives for their assistance. Should residents observe anything that concerns them, they are asked to contact the RDCK.

Slide fears prompt evacuation warning for Johnsons Landing

Residents of a small community on Kootenay Lake hit by a devastating landslide five years ago have been put on evacuation alert.

Emergency officials told residents of Johnsons Landing to be ready to leave their homes, after nearby Gar Creek began to run muddy and the slope showed signs of shifting.

"Johnsons Landing residents and the public are asked to stay away from the Gar Creek channel due to a minor debris flood that occurred earlier," the local government said in a news release.
 
"The two-metre wide flood resulted from a slide that caused approximately 500 cubic metres of material to slough off high on the slope. The material was deposited on the hillside before reaching any dwellings."
 
"Minor debris may continue to flow down the creek depending on how much rain the region receives over the next few days," the release added.

Four people were killed on July 12, 2012 when more than 300,000 cubic metres of trees, rock and soil swept down Gar Creek, burying the residents in a house alongside the creek.

The Regional District of the Central Kootenay said they were taking the precaution of an evacuation warning to ensure residents’ safety.

“A helicopter has dispatched representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and RDCK emergency management to assess the situation,” the release said.

A reception centre has been established at the Argenta Community Hall for residents on evacuation alert.

The RDCK says Emergency Social Services personnel will be onsite to provide food, water and support for those residents who have left their homes.

A report into the 2012 disaster said there were early warning signs of a possible slide, but the size of it couldn’t have been predicted. It was likely the largest slide in the area in 12,000 years, since the end of the ice age.

Heavy rain the month before and a late snow melt saturated the soil above the community  and triggered the landslide, the report concluded. The slide destroyed five houses, and officials assessing the damage later estimated another 18 homes were in a danger zone.

About 35 people live in the rural settlement, at the north-east shore of Kootenay Lake, about two hours’ drive from Nelson.
 
A map showing the evacuation alert zone can be viewed at this link.
 
A reception centre has been established at the Argenta Community Hall should an evacuation order be issued. Two counsellors will also be available to provide support to residents if needed.