Heavy rains cause mudslides in Cowichan, putting residents on edge: ‘It’s not safe’


Dominic Joe was on edge Thursday. Leaning over what was part of his Duncan backyard, until it was taken by a mudslide that crashed down tonnes of debris onto Allenby Road, in November’s massive rains.

“We had trails we used to play in, now we don’t. I had one more cedar tree here and it’s downhill somewhere,” said Joe, a lifelong resident of the home on Miller Road.

So he was out surveying whether any more debris came down in Wednesday’s storm.

“I think we’re going to get more slide going down,” said Joe.

Because just a few hundred metres away, another mudslide shut down neighbouring Indian Road in Wednesday’s atmospheric river.

“It’s the same thing. It’s an existing slope that’s steep and caused another slide,” said Simon Couchman of Copcan, the company repairing the road in the wake of the slide.

READ MORE: ‘An awful lot of stress’: Cowichan flooding victims sandbag again as heavy rains drench region

Crews tried to remove debris and danger trees from above Thursday, but told CHEK News there was concern that more slides were likely with the over-saturation of ground with each big rainstorm.

“And now we are waiting on geotechnical engineers to come up with a solution to mitigate this problem,” said Couchman.

Joe’s home of 39 years is one of three Cowichan Tribes houses at the top of the slope that is now under the scrutiny of geotechnical experts, assessing its stability.

“It’s frightful. Big things happen like that with mother nature beyond our control, but again we have to take steps now to assess what that could look like in the future,” said Chris Jancowski, manager of emergency planning and response for Cowichan Tribes.

Yet with more severe weather in the forecast, fixing this slope could take many months.

“This whole road is basically the same kind of slope and it could keep happening,” said Couchman.

“It’s not safe for anyone living here, because there’s no structure,” said Joe.

According to Cowichan Tribes, there is no imminent danger, and the slopes and their stability will be repaired as soon as possible to keep everyone safe.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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