Last December residents in Jordan River were given the dire news that they were living in a dangerous place. Jordan River and Diversion Dam behind it were deemed to be at risk in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.
BC Hydro operates the dam and a six-year study showed that if it was hit by a .9 magnitude earthquake the “world would be turned upside down.”
BC Hydro informed the residents of the study results and offered to purchase their homes. There are 11 homes and businesses in the tiny hamlet about 40 kms. from Sooke.
So far only one resident has sold his home to BC Hydro. The others are staying put - for now.
Doug Harvey, a 35-year on and off resident in Jordan River, said not much has changed since the announcement. He said one resident got a good deal and did okay and moved on.
“I’m still here and I haven’t counter-offered. I’m staying here for now, I have no desire to leave.”
He said he is still concerned about the possibility of a major earthquake and tsunami.
“The trouble I’m having is trying to find somewhere to live that’s comparable.”
Harvey said he works in Jordan River and has beach access right across the road and this is pretty idyllic for him.
“I kind of like it here. Not too much has changed but I can’t say it won’t,” he said.
The Breakers restaurant, now named Far Out Pizza, is still operational, said Harvey.
“They’re opened up and seem to be busy selling pizza and beer.”
Other ventures in Jordan River are also going strong.
The Cold Shoulder Cafe at the end of the strip is extremely busy after its first 11 months operating.
“We’ve had positive talks with BC Hydro,” said co-owner of the Cold Shoulder Josh Constandinou. “We’ve invested in a new food trailer and we are really busy this summer. We want to stay.”
He said that with the announcement of the opening of the CRD campground, things have mellowed out and they are not feeling as much pressure.
“We’re excited for the surf season,” he said. He mentioned the incredible number of tourists stopping by from all over the world.
“It’s been an eye opener, it’s been an awesome year.”
The CRD’s Jordan River Regional Park was given a reprieve from closure and camping was allowed again in May after BC Hydro re-assessed the public risk.
BC Hydro also relented and said the properties at Jordan River would not be expropriated and the residents could sell their homes in their own time.