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Saanich’s Arbutus Cove area remains closed post-landslide, crews continue to assess safety

Public access point to be inaccessible until safety can be assured
Arbutus Cove in Gordon Head remains closed post-landslide as engineering teams assess safety and underlying causes of the event. (Photo courtesy of Saanich Parks and Recreation)

Saanich residents eager to get back to visiting Arbutus Cove will need to exercise patience, as crews continue to assess damages caused by the area’s late December landslide.

The slope failure occurred on a nearby private property, and as a result, the public beach access is closed until further notice for public safety.

Engineering staff completed an initial assessment of the slopes between Arbutus Cove and Hollydene parks and the landslide indicated that heavy rainfall in recent months was the primary cause.

“The area is located on a steep bluff with underlying soil conditions that, once saturated, are prone to periodic failures,” said Saanich director of engineering Harley Machielse.

Upkeep in these areas involves the maintenance of vegetation and drainage control, and ensuring that structures are not built at the crest of the slope, Machielse added.

While these measures can improve stability conditions, he said, they do not entirely remove the potential for slope failures.

“We will be working with the property owner to hire a professional to further assess the slope and recommend subsequent preventative and remedial measures that can be completed in the short and long term.”

Access to Arbutus Cove beach will remain closed for another two weeks at least until Saanich engineering staff are confident the beach can be safely accessed, Machielse said.

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ALSO READ: Heavy rains cause unstable slopes between Saanich’s Arbutus Cove and Hollydene parks

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