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Williams Lake residents, city to meet over Terra Ridge evacuation orders, alerts

Emergency funding will allow for additional investigation, says Williams Lake CAO
Terra Ridge in Williams Lake is located on the west side of the city. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Residents of Terra Ridge, an adult living housing development on the west side of Williams Lake, are hoping to have some of their many questions and concerns answered when they meet with city council and staff this week.

“That’s really what it’s all about,” said strata council member Terry Shepherd of a public meeting set for Wednesday (Oct. 4) at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse. Williams Lake CAO Gary Muraca, other city staff as well as mayor and council are all on the invitation list.

At issue are the implications of the city declaring a state of local emergency due to “potential land movement” at 500 Wotzke Drive, also known as Terra Ridge, along with the accompanying evacuation order of four units, and evacuation alert placed on the remaining 76 units.

Shepherd said it’s been a tough week for Terra Ridge residents following the unexpected announcement on Friday, Sept. 29 by the city.

He has lived at Terra Ridge for six years and said he enjoys where he lives and the strong sense of community he feels there.

Williams Lake CAO Gary Muraca confirmed he will be at the meeting this week with updates and information for residents.

Over the weekend, Muraca said meetings with the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR) resulted in extra support and funding from the provincial government to conduct additional studies to determine the cause of the damage to the four units, and possible remedies.

“We want to get some extra resources and extra eyes from professionals on this to make sure we are not missing anything,” Murca told the Tribune Monday afternoon.

Declaring a state of local emergency for the area also allows funding for those on evacuation order to receive support for accommodations and food.

Muraca said he also plans to go over communication protocols to ensure residents are being kept up-to-date, and acknowledged there were “some lessons learned” following Friday’s sudden declaration.

“It’s a terrible situation,” said Muraca. “We want to make the most responsible decisions that ensure the protection of people and property … this is the only path forward.”

Last fall large swathes of land on the west side of Williams Lake as well as outlying areas were identified as “high hazard” and “moderate hazard” zones in a slope stability study released by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and City of Williams Lake in 2022.

Areas in the active or recent high hazard red zone on the geotechnical hazard map includes portions of Dog Creek Road, Highway 20, Terra Ridge and the old college site as well as two areas on South Lakeside Drive.

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

Angie Mindus is the managing editor of the Williams Lake Tribune and the Weekend Advisor.
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