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B.C. homes evacuated as large slab threatens to fall off rock face

City of Penticton declares a local state of emergency due to crack in precariously perched rock
City of Penticton staff member Len Robson points to a rock face that is moving and has potential of breaking away, which lead to evacuations for 24 properties on Penticton Avenue. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)

The City of Penticton says it has declared a local state of emergency and ordered about two-dozen properties evacuated in a mobile home park over fears of a potential rock slide.

Emergency Operations Centre director Kristen Dixon says a review by a geotechnical engineer prompted the city to order the homes evacuated due to the unstable rock.

“Staff immediately had the site reviewed by a professional geotechnical engineer and following that, made the decision to evacuate the potentially impacted properties,” said emergency operations centre director Kristen Dixon. “The city is working to further assess the area, and develop plans to remove the rock fall risk.”

Dixon says the city will share more details about how it plans to neutralize the hazard, and those evacuated can access emergency support services at a local firehall as they await word on when they can return home.

Engineers are on their way and a rock assessment is expected to take place on Nov. 22.

The properties are located in the northwest corner of the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park on Penticton Avenue. Firefighters and bylaw officers informed residents in the area of the evacuation. Emergency Support Services has been activated at Fire Hall 2 at 285 Dawson Ave.

“Residents are asked to go down to the ESS centre and register, as this will allow us to continue to update them on developments and what next steps may be necessary to deal with the hazard,” said Dixon.

The city says it was first notified on Tuesday morning about a large rock that may break off a cliff, and a geotechnical engineer’s review prompted the evacuation in the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park.

Shane Mills with the city’s emergency operations centre says it’s unknown how long residents will be out of their homes as the threat of the “precariously perched” rock is assessed.

A photo posted by the city on social media shows the rock with a large crack on a slope near the evacuated properties.

The city says affected residents were told of the threat by Penticton firefighters and bylaw workers Tuesday afternoon, and were urged to register with emergency support services at a local firehall.

The city says the threat of the rock slide didn’t prompt a state of emergency declaration, and the city plans to remove the rock after assessing the area.

— with files from Canadian Press

READ ALSO: Okanagan Lake water taxi arrives as rockslide keeps Highway 97 closed

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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