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$1.3M contract OK’d for repairs to White Rock’s storm-damaged Ruth Johnson Park

January 2020 deluge triggered landslide that damaged walkways and bridges
Ruth Johnson Park stairs, in White Rock, were blocked off in January 2020 due to storm damage, however, not everyone abided by the barriers. (Tracy Holmes file photo)

Work to remediate White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park is to get underway, following council’s endorsement this week of a $1.35-million contract for the project.

Director of engineering and municipal operations Jim Gordon told council Monday (Sept. 20) that the targeted area is the east side of the park – where the system connects to dead-end roads off the 147000-block of Oxford Street – where a record rainfall in January 2020 triggered a landslide that damaged walkways and bridges.

READ MORE: White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park, Coldicutt Ravine closed after ‘slope failures’

For safety reasons, that section of the park has been closed to the public ever since, however, not all park visitors are heeding barriers.

“Some people are walking through there right now – little bit of a risk,” Gordon said. “We don’t want anybody getting hurt, so we’d really like to get on with the repair.”

Gordon said the process to get to this point included hiring a geotechnical firm to place monitors in the slope in order to gain more information about its failure. As well, the city applied for Disaster Funding Assistance through the provincial government, and has been working with the DFA to substantiate the claim.

“It took some time to get the data,” Gordon said. “We wanted to get good results.”

The DFA program funds 80 per cent of repairs to infrastructure, but not the landslide itself, Gordon noted. The end result, he continued, is that $740,000 of the repair budget will be DFA-funded.

In response to a question from Coun. Scott Kristjanson, Gordon confirmed the work is “the final repairs” from the storm damage. Previous repairs have focused on the park’s west side, just north of Duprez Ravine, he said.

Non-storm-related work that will still be needed is to walkways in the park’s centre, he added.

“They weren’t necessarily damaged, but they’re very old, they need to be repaired. A separate project will repair those,” Gordon said. “That park is a real gem and we want to make it perfect.”

Council gave unanimous support to awarding the contract to GDM Construction Ltd. Gordon said the hope is to “get going on this quite quickly, have it done by the end of the year so people can again enjoy walking through that area.”
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Sections of Ruth Johnson Park and Coldicutt Ravine in White Rock were closed in January 2020 due to damage and slope stability issues caused by heavy rainfall. (City of White Rock file photo)

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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