The city of Williams Lake has declared a state of local emergency at Terra Ridge, a housing development with 80 strata units owned predominately by seniors on the west side of the city.
The city issued an evacuation order for four units which were previously identified in an engineering report procured by the Terra Ridge strata. Additionally, the city issued an evacuation alert for the remaining 76 units located at 500 Wotzke Drive.
The engineering report found there had been significant damage due to shifting foundations and framing at three units. Shortly afterwards, on Sept. 15, 2023, the city activated its Emergency Operations Centre at Level 1 in response to the finding and “out of an abundance of caution, four units at Terra Ridge were issued a “do not occupy” order and have been receiving Emergency Support Services.”
At the heart of the matter is land slippage. The area has seen slow movement for years, with nearby Highway 20 and Dog Creek Road both showing signs of slippage in recent years.
In September of 2022 the city of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District released a slope stability study which identified large swaths of land on the west side of the city and outlying areas as high and moderate hazard zones. At that time the two governments noted the region is home to a number of historical landslide areas which are typically slow-moving slides that move progressively over a period of months or years.
The state of local emergency issued Friday allows the city to undertake emergency measures to respond to and limit any damages to health safety and property to the community.
Williams Lake mayor Surinderpal Rathor said through its emergency operations centre, the city is coordinating with the province and all relevant agencies to help determine the best way to support the residents.
“The safety of the residents of Terra Ridge and private and public property is our primary concern, and the City of Williams Lake is focused on response to this situation,” Rathor said Saturday.
“We currently have Emergency Support Services (ESS) available for those on evacuation order, and will continue to work with the Strata Council and residents as we move through these challenges.”
- with files from Monica Lamb-Yorski