Big Bar landslide response information bulletin

March 27 2020

Ongoing landslide onsite operations

With the spring freshet fast approaching, prime contractor Peter Kiewit Sons ULC (Kiewit) worked this week on progressively blasting in-river rocks, shaping the bench for the “nature-like” fishway, and preparing for the second blast of the East Toe in April.

All rocks that were accessible from the “fingers” constructed from the west side of the river have been blasted. Crews also completed the West Bank safety canopy.

North of the East Toe, crews reached additional boulders now exposed with current low water levels and have been drilling these in preparation for removal by explosives. On the East Toe itself, a heavy lift helicopter has delivered drilling equipment to prepare the toe for blasting.

Fish monitoring within the blast area is carried out before the detonation of explosives in boulders slated for removal. To date, no fish have been detected before the blasts and no impact to fish has been observed.

The landslide response continues to be a top priority amidst the evolving COVID-19 situation. We are reviewing all planned activities on the Big Bar site to ensure we can meet public health requirements while still moving forward with this necessary work. Kiewit is taking additional health and safety precautions, including suspending all site visits which are not critical to the current project scope. Additionally, protocols have been put in place to minimize larger group gatherings in enclosed spaces.

Updating First Nations and stakeholders on Big Bar progress

On March 19, we partnered with the Province and First Nations to host two teleconferences to provide First Nations and stakeholders an update on the Big Bar landslide winter remediation work. The project team shared details on onsite operations, First Nations engagement, and mitigation measures being considered. We look forward to hosting another set of teleconferences in April 2020.

Reestablishing the First Nations Leadership Panel

Starting in April 2020, First Nations, the Province and DFO will be reengaging the First Nations Leadership Panel (FNLP) which was originally created during the summer 2019 emergency response phase. The Panel will continue its focus of collaborative decision-making on critical project milestones, including mitigation of fish passage at the Big Bar slide for 2020. Panel members will include leadership or delegates from First Nations impacted by the landslide or those with interests in Fraser River salmon stocks.

Crews continue significant in-river excavation. Click to enlarge.

Installation of the rock fall protection safety canopy was completed this week on the west side. Click to enlarge.

A heavy lift helicopter carrying a compressor that will aid in work on the East Toe. Click to enlarge.

Current in-channel view at the slide site as of March 19, 2020. Click to enlarge.