PRRD deems riverfront home a slide hazard

Landowner says Site C dam construction is increasing frequency of slides, PRRD building inspectors blame un-permitted construction

Building inspectors with the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) have deemed a river-front home near the Site C dam site a hazard and are demanding the owner take steps to prevent it from sliding into the river.

On Nov. 10, the PRRD board opted to begin legal action against Darrell Williams, who owns a property in the Old Fort neighbourhood that is sliding into a back channel of the Peace River

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Williams blames the slides on Site C construction and claims vibrations from heavy machinery two kilometres upstream are increasing the frequency of slides on the property. 

In a report to the regional district, however, PRRD inspectors said Williams is building an addition on the property without a permit. 

On Thursday, the PRRD board ordered Williams to cease construction on the property and remove several hazardous structures—including a mobile home, a separate two-storey structure and a deck. 

The building inspector’s report found cracked and sliding concrete on the building’s foundation, which created an “imminent risk” of further landslides.

When contacted Nov. 10, Williams said he planned to stop construction on the addition, which he intended to rent as a suite. 

He maintains construction vibration and fluctuations in river levels are playing a role in the growing instability. 

“It’s gotten worse,” he said of the slides. “(On) the neighbour’s property, the trees are falling, (the hillside is) starting to pull down because the river’s going up and down so bad.”  

Now, Williams says he wants BC Hydro to buy him out of the property. 

In a statement last month, BC Hydro said its representatives were in touch with Williams about the issue, but noted the land has a history of geotechnical issues. 

Bruce Simard, PRRD general manager of development services, said he has been dealing with geotechnical issues on the property for 18 years. 

Fort St. John mayor Lori Ackerman said she had "little to no faith" the issue would be dealt with unless the regional district "puts its foot down" and demands the structures be removed. 

The PRRD gives Williams the option of appealing the decision with a report from a certified engineer. 

reporter@dcdn.ca 

© Copyright Dawson Creek Mirror News

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