Oct 6, 2012 / 5:54 am
Potential slide gallery
Sam Verigin was worried about a new housing development going in above her home in pristine wilderness near Twin Lakes from the start.
Now it has reached the point where Verigin, who operates a bed and breakfast in her custom log house, actually fears for her life.
A large fissure had opened on the mountainside, several large boulders have already fallen on to a driveway built for the new Kaleden Acres development and she fears a slide could be imminent.
"They have literally dynamited through a mountain here and if it comes down there could be loss of life and my home," she said.
After taking pictures of the rift earlier this week, she contacted Tom Siddon, director for Area D on the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board, who was quick to show support.
On Tuesday, RDOS and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure representatives flew over the site above Highway 3A in helicopters and walked it on foot to determine the immediate risk.
"It would not be as big as the slide north of Summerland a few years back, but it's the same type of situation," said Siddon. "This lady Sam is the only one who could be downslope of this and someone needs to tell her if her property is in danger."
After viewing the location, it was decided she did not need to be evacuated, said Mark Woods, community services manager for the RDOS.
It is also fortunate that there are not yet any homes built at the site, he added.
An engineer from the Ministry of Transportation determined there was also little risk because the rocks that slid down would likely not cross the road below the hillside and make it down to her home.
"The rocks that slipped down are not exhibiting any stress on the road at all. We believe it is all above it on private land, so we have closed that road," said Murray Tekano, district transportation manager with the ministry.
The next step will be for the developer of the project to mitigate the situation, he said.
The developer of Kaleden Acres, Mark Goulden, could not be reached for comment.
Verigin is not entirely convinced she is out of the woods yet. She believes the failures of her well and septic field in recent weeks are tied to the development. She worries too about the impact on a wilderness corridor, travelled by bear, coyotes and even moose.
"It remains obvious to me there is a geohazard here, we just can't see what is underground," she said. "I just have to wait and see. I believe all it will take is a little precipitation."
Woods said the RDOS will continue to monitor the situation.
"Our attention is still on this as a regional district," he said. "If there is any rain activity, we will turn our attention back to it immediately."
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