A Rockslide blocked the Northbound Lane of Highway 97A between the communities of Grindrod and Swansea Point on March 11. (Photo Contributed)

Highway 97A rock slide a worrisome reminder

Swansea Point residents all-too-familiar with destructive debris and flooding

A recent rockslide has triggered familiar worries for some of those who live along Mara Lake.

The rockslide which obstructed one lane of Highway 97A on March 11 has some Swansea Point residents who have experienced slides in the past on edge.

“This was huge. Those rocks were, like my husband says, the size of small cars,” said Lois Schurek, a resident of Swansea Point, north of where the March 11 slide took place.

Read More: Proposed logging prompts call for moratorium

Swansea Point residents are no strangers to the destructive power of mother nature. The community went through serious debris flow events in 1997 and 2012.

Although Schurek said the March 11 slide was the largest in the area in some time, it raises uncertainty in the stability of the slopes and rock faces which tower above Mara Lake.

“You just never know what’s loosening and what’s shifting and then you get a big rain…,” Schurek said.

Dan Keely, another resident of the area, said the biggest problem facing Swansea Point was taken care of when the bridge and culvert that allows Hummingbird Creek to cross under highway was replaced in 2014.

Read More: Province to stem flood concerns with $3 million bridge on Hummingbird Creek

“One boulder or one log would plug it up and then it would washout the highway and half of Swansea Point,” Keely said.

In the last serious flood of 2012, the older, the smaller culvert rapidly clogged, sending water and debris over the highway and into residential areas of Swansea Point.

“Since the bridge has been put in, which we fought for years to get, we haven’t had any flooding like that,” Keely said.

Keely said small rockslides are far from unheard of in the area and usually come in the form of smaller debris that can be easily removed from the road.

“That was the worst one I’ve seen around here for quite awhile,” Keely said.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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A Rockslide blocked the Northbound Lane of Highway 97A between the communities of Grindrod and Swansea Point on March 11. (Photo Contributed)

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