Ground movement in the Marble Hill area has led City of Chilliwack to expand the “no-build” areas.
Bylaw and official community plan changes were passed by council last week, based on a new landslide map showing “excessive ground movement” of up to two metres in some parts of the Eastern Hillsides.
A couple of area residents raised concerns about the new development restrictions passed last Tuesday.
“I’m very upset,” said one resident. He said it means they will only be able to put up “a single wide trailer” on the property.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she was “very sensitive” to the fact that some in the audience had been “impacted” by ground movement leading to “the unknown of living in that area.”
“I just wanted to say to you and your neighbours, that we feel badly that we have to have this conversation,” said Gaetz.
Years ago city officials did not have access to high-tech tools now used in geo-technical engineering, which allows them to obtain data on individual properties, and monitoring as far as 30 metres down.
“The Marble Hill Development Moratorium Area was established in 2004 in response to geotechnical instability that resulted in significant residential property settlement and home damage, and in three cases, the demolition of homes on safety grounds,” according to the city staff report.
City of Chilliwack paid out about $21 million for homes shown to have been built on unstable ground in the hillsides.
There has been ongoing ground movement recorded over the past 13 years.
Council established the original moratorium on rezoning and subdivisions in place back in 2004, but since then monitoring of hubs at three-month intervals has been conducted by Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB) geotech firm.
KCB analyzed data in 2014 and found evidence of movement of greater than two metres in some areas, and in 2016, it produced a landslide map, identifying suggested areas of concern.
• No development in the Ridge Crest rock fall hazard area ( A1 and A2)
• Moratorium on further development in Hinkley Creek suspect slide area Area B; and
• No development in the earthflow area (CI, C2, and C3)
The amendments to the Eastern Hillsides Comprehensive Area Plan Land Use Plan were to rename the “Subject to No Build Moratorium” area as “No Build Area,” and expand this area to include Areas CI, C2 and C3.
The original 2004 Development Moratorium map included: Panorama Drive, Allison Place, Ridgeview Street and Ridgeview Place.