Points on landslides

Group spokesperson makes points in regard to how Johnsons Landing tragedy may have been prevented

The Perry Ridge Water Users Association extends sincere condolences to the victims of the Johnsons Landing landslide.

Our Association has tracked landslides in the Kootenays for close to 30 years, using the expertise of Frank Baumann P. Eng,  Dr. June Ryder, P. Geo,the late Dr. Tony Salway, Terrain Specialist, Trevor Jones, Engineer and Allen Isaacson, Hydrologist.

The experts, in many cases including the government’s own experts, all agree that British Columbia has many high risk areas and unstable areas, especially in the Kootenays.

Unfortunately development continues to be planned on unstable terrain and increases the risk to residents below. Whether forest development added to the already existing risk of a high hazard at Johnsons Landing or not, hazard mapping could have prevented this and it is a well known fact that roads and cutting increase water volume and sedimentation in the steeply incised creeks in the West Kootenays. The headwater areas, which drain very large areas of the mountains, all drain to the valley bottom where we live.

The frequency of slides is high in the region.

Christy Clarke and the government officials are saying in the press that this slide was not predictable, Frank Baumann assured me in an e-mail a few days ago that hazard mapping would have prevented this.

The Perry Ridge Water Users Association believes it is negligent for the B.C. Government to continue to increase the risk to lives, homes and properties by forest development. In the absence of hazard mapping and updated rainfall/hydrological data the government is not showing due diligence in its work. Further, it is the victims, who will be put at risk who should decide whether it is acceptable, not the government.

We do not wish to show any disrespect to the victims of Johnsons Landing during their losses and grief. However, it is a long time overdue for the Government of B.C. to act responsibly, which they have not done, by ignoring advice and warnings from independent professionals.


Marilyn Burgoon


Perry Ridge Water Users Association