FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District (PRRD) has released the Old Fort Emergency Response Plan.

The plan, released on March 8th, is in place for Old Fort should the community require an evacuation, shelter in place or community orders based on hazards that have been identified in the region.

The PRRD has listed five hazards in the area, landslide, flooding (both natural and man-made), strong winds, fire or interface event, evacuation, shelter in place or community orders.

The community of Old Fort has already been affected by a landslide on two different occasions. Once in 2018, a landslide took out the Old Fort Road, isolating homes on the east side of the slide. It affected transportation, utilities and forced the community to evacuate. In June 2020, the landslide reactivated, leaving the community isolated but with utilities.

Along with the landslide hazard, there are also risks of flooding in the community, whether natural or man-made. With the community’s location on the Peace River, residents may be vulnerable to high waters. The construction of Site C and two cofferdams holds the risk of a flood should a dam failure take place during construction.

Prolonged wind events within the community of Old Fort could also cut off BC Hydro and Telus framework. Telus mobility could also be affected depending on winds and tower damage. Due to there only being one road in and out of the community, a wildfire or interface fire could threaten access to the road and may isolate the community.

The plan also points out risks that could affect Old Fort, like significant snowmelt, heavy rainfall, any active slope movements, any disruptions in and around Site C, any bedrock slides, traffic and supply route disruptions, damage to public and private property, infrastructure damage—roads, utilities, buildings, danger to public health, economic impact and convergence of people from other communities.

The PRRD also outlines what could become vulnerable as a result of the hazards. Road access to some or all properties could affect water delivery, sewage hauling, access to education and health services, jobs outside of the community, and emergency services. Hydroelectric power could be compromised or disconnected for safety and phone lines, internet, and cell phones. Natural gas lines may also be compromised.

Evacuation alerts could be issued along with a Shelter in Place or Shelter in Community order. It will be used when determined that sheltering or remaining in homes is the safest option for residents.  Alerts will be issued when the PRRD believes or has been notified of a threat, depending on how the situation progresses.

More information on the Old Fort Emergency Response Plan, the hazards, risks, and strategies can be found on the PRRD website.