Municipal and provincial levels of government are looking at ways to deal with sloughing of the embankment in the Williams Lake River Valley below Mackenzie Avenue. The governments are working with business owners to rectify the situation. Angie Mindus photo

Sloughing of embankment results in vehicles, tank falling into river valley

City of Williams Lake staff working with government ministries and businesses to address the problem

Areas of the embankment along the Williams Lake River Valley are sloughing, forcing some business owners to move equipment away from the bank.

The city’s director of municipal services Gary Muraca said staff identified some issues a couple of weeks ago where some vehicles and a fuel tank fell into the river valley from properties above.

City staff are working with representatives from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment to notify business owners and rectify the situation, Muraca told the Tribune.

“We have met with the business owners and asked for voluntary compliance moving equipment away from the bank edge and will be following up with requesting them to clean up what has already fallen.”

Additionally, the City will be looking into having a more formal process in place to prevent it from happening again, Muraca said.

Several years ago the City was advised to create a 50-metre buffer zone from areas where the embankment is sloughing, however, nothing has been done to put that in place, Muraca said.

In 2013, there were issues further northwest on Frizzi Road at the former Jack Pine Forests Product site with surface water flow from the mill yard as the suspected cause of instability of the river valley escarpment.

Read more: River valley escarpment near Jack Pine site continues to slide

And in 2015, the City closed the Frizzi Road access to the river valley because of washout damage to the switchback portion of the road.

The road has never been re-opened.

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A tank that fell from a property above into the river valley was discovered by City staff a few weeks ago, along with some vehicles. Photo submitted

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