Living on the edge: Williams Lake business owner impacted by recent river valley landslide

Wyatt Bednarz of BJ Trucking is thankful to the many local businesses who have reached out to offer space for his trucks and equipment after a landslide on Saturday, Oct. 31 prompted an evacuation and concerns of further slippage. (Angie Mindus photo)Wyatt Bednarz of BJ Trucking is thankful to the many local businesses who have reached out to offer space for his trucks and equipment after a landslide on Saturday, Oct. 31 prompted an evacuation and concerns of further slippage. (Angie Mindus photo)
A view of the slide behind Wyatt Bednarz’s Frizzi Road property. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)A view of the slide behind Wyatt Bednarz’s Frizzi Road property. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

A business owner in Williams Lake lost about two acres of property when the equivalent of 75,000 truckloads of debris slid into the river valley Saturday, Oct. 31 from his property line.

Wyatt Bednarz owns B&J Trucking and Brandy Enterprises and three of his four Frizzi Road properties are under evacuation order. Frizzi Road is now only about 20 feet from the slide area.

Bednarz has owned the properties for 29 years and said he was at his shop when the slide occurred Saturday.

One of his truckers working below with Peterson Contracting Ltd, where crews have been remediating flood damage since April when the Williams Lake Creek reached 200-year levels, saw the slide happen and called Bednarz.

Read more: Williams Lake landslide ‘severely’ impacts three Frizzi Road properties

Now Bednarz is scrambling to haul trucks and equipment away from the edge of the escarpment and has been offered temporary storage at the former Jackpine Forest Products Ltd. site on Mackenzie Avenue and on Fox Mountain.

He was under evacuation order in April during the flooding and had just had the order lifted in mid-September. With that closed access Bednarz said he lost about $120,000 in revenue during that time period. His business employs about 20 people.

During the regular council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 3, the City’s director of planning and development Hasib Nadvi told council two provincial geotechs arrived on Sunday and more were expected to tour the river valley Wednesday and Thursday.

“The province will do 3-D mapping of the entire river valley which we will compare to the images we took in May and June,” Nadvi said.

The level of the Williams Lake Creek is not as high as it was in the spring, but is still high and has yet to peak.

The San Jose River, Borland Creek and Knife Creek are higher than normal too, he added.

“We are historically high with groundwater saturation,” Nadiv said.

On Thursday, Nov. 6 another portion of the escarpment gave way taking two trees and an eight-by-eight foot storage container down below.

Mayor Walt Cobb said the City will be meeting with impacted Frizzi Road property owners at a special committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to go over information received from geotechnical engineers who were in the Williams Lake.

Bednarz, meanwhile, continues to haul equipment away from the site, but said he has not been able to access the area close to the slide yet.

Read more: Waterlogged: Williams Lake downright soggy after days of rain

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