Placement of Site C work camp defines the term ‘calculated risk’
As someone who has closely monitored site c construction, I have always wondered why the work camp was placed right above the problematic north slope. It didn’t seem that bad of a location at first, but as they began excavation and the severity of the geotechnical conditions turned the slope into one disaster after another, it really seemed odd.
However once the massive Old Fort slide happened a few kilometers away I really just shook my head every time I saw how close the excavation was to the edge of the buildings. It literally skirts the edge. If anything happens to compromise this slope further…I wouldnt want to imagine it.
Most of us here have commented on this several times in different posts. Zoom in below and you can see for yourself.
For contrast, this is what the north bank looked like before the excavation to make it stable occurred, from the Narwhal https://thenarwhal.ca/exclusive-photos-bc-government-frantic-push-site-c-dam-point-of-no-return/
The sheer amount of material taken away to date, is staggering.
Well, thanks to my friend Destiny who also wondered why it was so close and went looking through BC Hydro’s EIS for the excavation plans for this slope, we now know the work camp actually isn’t where it was originally supposed to be located!
Not only that, we also now know that the excavation plans for the north slope showed an entirely different location further away from the most unstable ( by their own engineering assessment) slope in the construction zone.
In her own words:
“It’s peculiar to me that the viewpoint and man camp were built in a place different than the drawings they submitted for the environmental impact statement. According to their own drawings, overlayed on actual google image of the site currently, that bank will need to be sloped past the edge of the existing camp and viewpoint in order to be stabilized. Why did they put everything closer to the most unstable bank in the construction zone than they planned? 🤷♀️”
Below I will post the original overlay on it’s own, then I will post her image in which she has placed it exactly over the exact Google image.
From BC hydros EIA submission, Volume 1 Figures, page 48:
The yellow portion that starts in the upper/mid left and goes across the bank, crossed with red lines, is the planned north slope excavation required to achieve ( in theory) stability, as per plans submitted.
Now, below, is the above map overlayed on a current Google image of the construction site.
To the top left you will see a bright green square showing the planned original location of the work camp.
To the immediate left of that square, you will see the white rectangular outlines of buildings in the actual current location of the work camp. They are quite different locations.
This is where it gets interesting.
You will also notice that the yellow excavation zone map now overlaps on top of the buildings, actually cuts off the lower left corner of the main building, engulfs the portable work building and continues along the bank to totally excavate the current location of the viewpoing on the left hand side.!! There is potentially a lot more excavation required on the north slope according to this.
This image shows the current viewpoint for comparison above. It would be completely gone if they have to excavate as much as planned.
I did some asking around since Hydro doesn’t like talking to me and I don’t care to file an FOI, and it sounds like Hydro couldn’t end up buying the land they originally planned on as the location of the green square above…so they just built it where it is now – partially in the planned excavation zone!
Considering what’s happened with that slope, and the anecdotes from workers who wish to remain unnamed, it seems a calculated risk. I’d sure be interested to know who made that call. Is this what happens when a premier vows to get something past the point of no return and rushes things?
Its clear they haven’t managed run off and water erosion well and it’s not a new issue. A comment left recently on Facebook supports this.
I’m sure it’s all fine though, because the Site C pr guy Dave Conway says everything is fine, the slope is stable (🙄) and they are ( still ) working on drainage.
That’s why the photo of the sign on the fence, at the Site C viewpoint just above the North slope at the far left side of the excavation ( also built in the planned stability excavation zone ), made me laugh profusely….sigh. That moment when the ‘stable’ north bank needs an ‘unstable bank’ sign on it…🤣
I tell ya, you can’t make this stuff up….moving on though, I did get a pic of the mostly ignored south bank construction for you, which appears to be showing some slumping when you zoom on, in the black material above the service bay
So there you have it. The story of why that camp is literally on the edge of the north slope. And the million dollar question now is:
Who decided this was a good idea and what happens if we continue to get crappy rains when fall comes and they do need to flatten that slope further in line with the planned excavation design on their diagram above?
We are well into 2019 and there are still water and erosions issues on this slope. I’m told the only fix is to install more drains and remove more material to flatten the slope further. Kinda hard to do that with a building in the excavation zone…..
But hey, what do I know? 😉