One home had been partially destroyed and at least five more properties were under threat from a slow-moving landslide that was still rattling a Penticton neighbourhood Monday.
Two houses – 645 Heather Rd. and the one about 50 metres down slope from it at 718 Creekside Rd. – were ordered evacuated Friday by the City of Penticton. Four other houses on either side have been placed under an evacuation alert.
As of Monday, the two-storey home at 718 Creekside Rd. was leaning heavily into the slope as its garage was inundated by earth and debris.
At least four retaining walls above, including one that helps support a swimming pool at the top of the slope, had been badly compromised.
Both the city and the owners of 645 Heather Rd. have hired geotechnical engineers to assess the situation and come up with a game plan, but must wait for the slope to break loose so they can see the full extent of the damage.
“It’s continuing to move. I was there (Monday) morning and you could hear it creaking,” said Ken Kunka, the city’s deputy director of development services.
He said the slide is moving so slowly because the ground is dry and there’s a lot of friction in the material, unlike mudslides, which tend to happen more suddenly.
Kunka said the cause of the slide is “under assessment.” He said the pool at the top of the slope was drained as a precaution Friday, but was not leaking.
As part of its assessment, the city is reviewing its files and aerial photos to see what work has been done in the area over the past 10 to 15 years.
Neighbours told The Herald on Monday they hadn’t been given any indication about a possible cause.
The slide began Thursday night when the city experienced heavy rains after a heat wave. City officials visited the site Friday and ordered people out that afternoon.
The slide continued Saturday, before picking up speed Sunday.
“It probably moved about seven to eight feet in the course of (Sunday), and led to the collapse of that home down below” at 718 Creekside Rd., said Kunka.
Engineers expect the slope, when it finally comes down, to pile up in the driveway of 718 Creekside Rd., below which some large concrete blocks have been placed to protect the road, which remains open to local traffic.
Kunka said 718 Creekside Rd. is a rental property and the occupants have been offered emergency social services, while the city awaits the all-clear from the engineers for the tenants to go inside to retrieve some of their belongings.
This story has been updated with comments from Ken Kunka