PRWUA request removal of remaining landscape on Perry Ridge to save lives and prevent another tragic landslide… Johnson’s landing tragic landslide (related press article)
PERRY RIDGE WATER USERS’ ASSOCIATION
Gr. 16 C-9
Winlaw, B.C. VOG 2JO
September 4, 2012
Hon. Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests
Re: Perry Ridge Logging and Road Development – Risk to Residents
Dear Hon. Mr. Thomson:
Since our letter dated May 14, 2012 regarding landslide hazards on Perry Ridge, on July 12th this past summer, the Johnsons Landing landslide killed 4 community members and left irreparable harm to their community. The community is still trying to cope with the devastating losses. (See attached media articles)
Johnson’s Landing in Limbo…Valley Voice August 22, 2012…Jan McMurray
Where to Point Fingers… Nelson Star July 25, 2012
Tourism Affected…Valley Voice, Jan McMurray
Landslide Devastation…Valley Voice, Jan McMurray
Valley Voice, jan McMurray, July 12,2012…
…previous article continued
Instability Remains a Concern for Johnson’s landing…Nelson Star…Meagan Cole
Idaho Peak Road Repaired/Little Slocan Road Impassable…
The Technical Review Team for this landslide includes Mr. Peter Jordan and Mr. Dwain Boyer (landslide specialist and hydrologist with FLNRO).
In 1999 Mr. Boyer and Mr. Jordan authored the Perry Ridge Risk Assessment and set a lower standard for risk assessments than required internationally and by municipal governments. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Boyer’s report says moderate risk is NOT a significant issue. Moderate risk can include the destruction of a single residence or serious injury to a person. Jeopardizing the safety of homes and families for logging is setting a precedent all over the province.
Even low risk include a moderate chance of an event with the following consequences: destruction of private roads or outbuildings; serious damage to a single residence or commercial building, outbuildings, public roads, utilities or agricultural land; minor damage to multiple residence or commercial buildings.
In many cases, getting to low risk areas requires roads crossing moderate and high risk areas. In the Perry Ridge risk assessments, cumulative damage to the creek beds and river system was not an issue at all!
In the case of Perry Ridge, the BC Government continues to force residents to accept outrageous risks and damage of logging hazardous areas above our homes. The BC Government is also forcing the Sinixt Nation to accept risks to their important archaeological sites and their traditional food sources. Dr. Tony Salway in his May 2, 2011 report on Perry Ridge, concluded in his literature review of the cutblocks at the north end of the ridge: “ Summit did not evaluate the ground water on top of the ridge,
the gullies or the property at the base of the ridge. Therefore BC Timber Sales should not have issued the cutting permit to Sunshine Logging.” Dr. Salway goes on to say in his field report, October 6, 2011: “The irreparable damage currently exhibited is due to the fact that the culvert was grossly inadequate and, along the cutblocks and poor inside ditches, in shallow non-cohesive soils, will undoubtedly result in increased sedimentation, that will eventually find its way into the Slocan River.”
Sedimentation bars are already visible through Google earth of the sediment load coming into the Slocan River from Lemon Creek and the Little Slocan.
In reference to the Cascade Creek plume into the Lardeau River, Dr. Salway states, “A similar plume could enter the Slocan and/or the Little Slocan Rivers, not only impairing fish habitat, but also affecting important archaeological sites (Sinixt Concentration” map). (Dr. Goodale’s 2009 Slocan Narrows Report.
In his November 4, 2011 Report Dr. Salway did a flight down the southeast side of Perry Ridge, from Slocan to Vallican and observed the headwater areas of the creeks. “It is important to note the existence of a number of tributaries, entrenched in the north side of the basin (Hird) some of which have exhibited signs of slides.”
A survey of 22 scientific studies in the Pacific Northwest in 1999 shows that an average of 13 times more landslides start on clearcuts than on undisturbed forest (Rates vary from 3 to 93 times more landslides from clearcuts, depending on the area. ) Surveys show that an average of 221 times more landslides initiate on road rights-of-way than undisturbed forests (from 7 – 1600 times, depending on the area and the study.)
The Ministry of Forests, Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Environment should have the same standard hazard mapping as the RDCK. In a letter dated March 16, 1998 to Planning Manager, RDCK, Mr.Friele, M.SC consultant from Baumann Engineering, states in his concluding paragraph of his letter re: Geotechnical hazards “ We raise these issues out of ethical responsibility.”
This letter was copied to Mr.Berni Eigelshoven* of Valhalla Realty, Martin Carver MoELP, MoTH Kurt Edmonds and to the Area Director at the time Mr. Eric Nygren. . Nanaimo, Pemberton Lillooet Regional District and other municipalities are now doing planning with hazard mapping in place on private land and public lands. *Mr.Berni Eigelshoven died in one of the two landslides from Van Tuyl Creek in the Slocan Valley in May 2008. Summary page from the report identifies the government’s redirecting water from logging and road building to mid creek as the #1 cause of the slide. We forwarded to you the summary page from the Van Tuyl Landslide report in our previous letter. See attached Nelson Star article “Where to point fingers”.
Both the Federal and Provincial governments continue to set Terms of Reference in their contracts that limit professional scientists from upholding The Code of Ethics of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, which reads:
“To hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public, the protection of the environment and (to) promote the health and safety of the workplace.”
The citizens of this province require engineers and scientists who uphold this serious Code of Ethics, more now than ever with the impact of climate change and its associated intense rainfall as in the case of Johnsons Landing.
Major tragic landslide events often start small but have catastrophic effects as we observe the grief and losses of the community in Johnsons Landing. The municipalities and the province must understand the linkage between Crown land and private land on the valley bottoms where we live and realize the consequences would be the same as the losses in Johnsons Landing. In the case of Perry Ridge, even with the substandard risk assessment, identifies over half of the ridge as unstable.
The landslide at Johnsons Landing, according to Mr. Jordan, landslide expert, was not predictable, even from air photos. Even in areas of predictability i.e. high and moderate in Mr. Jordan and Mr. Boyer`s Perry Ridge Risk Assessment for Crown Land, the government of BC has been unwilling to remove the area from the annual allowable cut. Perry Ridge clearly is an area that requires the remaining landscape on the ridge to be removed from the cut to protect the residents.
A survey of 22 scientific studies in the Pacific Northwest (1999) shows that an average of 13 times more landslides start on clearcuts than on undisturbed forest (Rates vary from 3 to 93 times more landslides from clearcuts, depending on the area. ) Surveys show that an average of 221 times more landslides initiate on road rights-of-way than undisturbed forests (from 7 – 1600 times, depending on the area and the study.)
Our homes are below the fragile landscape on Perry Ridge and it is the residents who will suffer the devastating consequences should a mass failure occur. We DO NOT accept the increased risks of logging and road development.
The solution is simple – remove the remaining landscape on Perry Ridge from the annual allowable cut and protect our community and save taxpayer dollars. (See our previous letter re: costs).How many more deaths do citizens in BC need to lose before your government realizes and acknowledges that unstable areas in and around homes should not be developed.
A plugged culvert in the backcountry does not have the same consequence as one that creates a landslide that rips at inescapable speed down the mountainside to the valley below where we live.
PERRY RIDGE WATER USERS ASSOCIATION
Cc: Marilyn James, Appointed Spokesperson Sinixt Nation
Katrina Conroy, MLA
Walter Popoff, Area H RDCK
Premier Christy Clark
Minister of Environment
Minister of Finance
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Ministry of Transportation
NDP Forestry Critic
NDP Environment Critics
Dr. Nathan Goodale,