A landslide that knocked out power and shut the highway east of Queen Charlotte on Monday afternoon has been cleared off the road, but traffic continues to be diverted around the slide area in a single lane on Tuesday. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer) A landslide that knocked out power and shut the highway east of Queen Charlotte on Monday afternoon has been cleared off the road, but traffic continues to be diverted around the slide area in a single lane on Tuesday. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Heavy rainfall affects roads, water in Queen Charlotte and Skidegate

Skidegate water treatment plant may be offline for 24 hours

Drivers are still being diverted onto a single lane around the hillside east of Queen Charlotte where a landslide fell on Monday afternoon.

No one was injured by the slide, which was triggered by heavy rainfall on a slope between Eagle Hill and Husband Roads just after 3 p.m.

The rainfall also forced the Skidegate water treatment to go offline at 2 p.m. Monday because the water source became too muddy to treat. The water treatment plant is expected to stay off another 24 hours, so Skidegate residents are asked to use water only for cooking, drinking, and flushing.

Village staff in Skidegate also ask residents to hold off using laundry, and to take short showers.

In a rainfall warning issued for all of Haida Gwaii, Environment Canada says Monday’s rainfall ranged from 30 up to 60 mm in Queen Charlotte, and another 30 to 60 mm are expected Tuesday. The highest amounts are once again expected to fall near Queen Charlotte, but the rain is expected to taper off in the early evening.

Staff with the Village of Queen Charlotte ask that anyone who sees flooding events or other concerns report them to 250-559-4765.

Monday’s landslide brought down hydro lines, leaving Queen Charlotte without power for several hours.

A geotechnician from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation okayed the highway re-opening yesterday using drone photos, and will arrive on island to further examine the slope.

The Queen Charlotte mainline forestry road between Port Clements and Queen Charlotte remains closed because flooding has made the road impassable.

The landslide is the first real emergency on Haida Gwaii since the islands’ new emergency notifications system went into effect.

Called ePACT, the free service can send text, email, and voicemail alerts to residents, and on Monday village staff used it several times to update everyone on the landslide and highway closure. Over 350 residents have now signed up for the service.

The heavy rains have caused flooding along parts of several streets in Queen Charlotte, including 1st Avenue, the road in front of the Haida Gwaii School District Office, 4th Street, 2nd Avenue, and the intersection of Oceanview Drive and Wharf Way. Village staff also reported a rock sluff near the Coho Apartments late this afternoon.

“O’Briens has done a great job putting out cones, and people are slowing down,” said Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin, adding that water had completely covered the road by Sea Raven Motel.

In Skidegate, flooded culverts also caused a road closure on 4th Avenue.

While the highway was closed by the landslide on Monday, a safe walking route around the debris was identified at Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin’s property, which happens to be where all the debris tumbled.

“It’s right in my driveway,” said Martin. “My garbage cans got buried.”

The walkway through Martin’s property came in handy when students from Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary and GidG̱alang Ḵuuyas Naay had to cross the slide area after school on Monday. Teachers were waiting on either side of the slide to drive them home.

Martin said that thankfully, there is a huge rock between his yard and the highway — his kids dubbed it Martin Mountain — so the route was judged safe even if more debris came down.

“We had 100 per cent guaranteed safety, from everything except wet feet.”

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Heavy rains sent soil, rocks, and trees tumbling off a slope between Husband and Eagle Hill Road east of Queen Charlotte at 3:02 p.m. Monday. Students from Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary in Skidegate and GidGalang Kuuyas Naay in Queen Charlotte were among those who had to walk through Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin’s front yard to safely get around the slide while the road was closed. (Faustine Des Rosiers/Facebook)

Heavy rains continued to fall on Tuesday, sending a creek’s worth of water gushing behind the Sea Raven Motel and Green Coast Kayaking building on Oceanview Drive. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

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