The city of Whitehorse issued orders over the weekend to evacuate three homes after two more landslides that it considers at risk.
Mayor Laura Cabot said at a news conference at City Hall on Monday afternoon that no other buildings or homes in the city are currently at risk.
She said that under the evacuation order now two houses were vacant and she believed that the residents of the third house complied with the order and left.
According to city operations director Tracy Allen, each landslide – one occurred on Friday night and the other on Saturday at around 10:40 a.m. – dropped about 3,000 to 4,000 cubic meters of debris from the slope.
A landslide occurred over Cliffside Park near Jekyll Street in the city’s downtown on Saturday morning. The park has been closed since May 2021, when the last landslide occurred.
Debris was seen falling from a slope in the landslide, which spans 6th Avenue, near a house, in a park on the west side of downtown.
look | Yukon Geological Survey footage shows landslides sending debris onto Cliffside Park and 6th Avenue:
“It is groundwater that gets into the ground and is coming out of the slope that is causing the slide,” Cabot said.
He said the city would take the equipment out of the park – although it was already closed, with the mayor saying some residents were using it – and move it. Cabot suggested that people visit Jim Light Park on 3rd Avenue instead.
The fresh landslide came as the city began cleaning up another landslide that occurred late last month.
The landslide was the result of approximately 3,000 to 4,000 cubic meters of sand, silt and clay that fell from slopes into the Robert Service Way and Millennium Trail and the Yukon River.
The city stated that the current sliding is not due to the recent construction of a sheet pile wall along the Robert Service Way. The wall is being built to reduce damage from any future landslides in the area and allow officials to reopen the main road into the city, which has been closed for weeks.
Workers working on the wall of the sheet pile to help with the new landslide were evacuated on Saturday. Cabot said the crew is expected to return Tuesday to build the wall along the Robert Service Way.
Allen said it should take another seven or eight days to build the wall.
“We’re hoping within the next two weeks, pending no further shutdowns, we’ll be able to open it at least under controlled traffic,” Allen said.
The second landslide occurred last weekend between Wood and Jarvis Roads. Cabot said the city closed more areas near the slopes as a result of the weekend’s slides.
continue monitoring the slope
Allen said the city’s engineers and consultants continue to monitor the entire slope with the use of drones and visual inspection every day. He expects to see more slides in the next week or two as groundwater continues to seep down the slope.
The city provided emergency preparedness information to residents in about 40 or 50 homes following this weekend’s landslide, just in case residents are trapped in their homes and cannot go for a while.
The information package includes advice on having enough supplies to last 72 hours, as well as signs that residents can put up in their windows that read either HELP or OK.
Anyone who sees a landslide is asked to report it to the city at 867-667-2111.
Cabot also urged residents to sign up for the Whitehorse Alert app.
She said the notification system alerts users of any emergency situation in the city, including floods or fires.
,[It’s] A really important measure that you can take to keep yourself informed and safe,” she said.