Stranded campers given access across Fairmont Creek
The completion of a temporary road on Monday (July 16) afternoon gave the 600 or so campers who were stranded overnight in the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort campground a way out after a large scale mudslide washed out the campground's access bridge on Sunday (July 15).
"There's people still camping," Fairmont Hot Springs Resort marketing manager Marion Garden told The Valley Echo on Tuesday (July 17). "There's some people who have booked in for a week and they're happy now that there's a road so they can come in and out.
"They can stay until we go in and permanently redo the road."
On Sunday, debris coming down Fairmont Creek caused a natural blockage that forced water to back up and spread out about 1,000 feet wide, resulting in a torrent of mud, boulders and trees that caused the bridge and a footbridge to washout as well as the rupture of a 1,500 litre propane tank and two water lines, and the deposit of a large amount of debris on the fairway of the Fairmont golf course. Both Riverside and Creekside golf courses were not affected by the mudslide and remain open for business as usual, Garden noted.
"Officially we're saying [the Fairmont course] is closed until July 22," she said. "We have crews out there right now… to determine how badly damaged it is; there is quite a lot of debris that needs to be cleared."
Although no damage was done to the pools or the pool complex, the hot pools remain closed while crews work on uncovering the holding boxes located at source of the hot springs further up Fairmont Creek before moving the machinery downstream to start rebuilding the road to the campground. Garden couldn't say when the pools would reopen.
"It's a day-by-day basis," she said.
With the pools and golf course closed, the resort is not taking any new bookings. Meanwhile, some campers and guests are electing to stay.
"The people who are happy to stay here are staying on site so we still have guests at the moment," said Garden. "[But] our reservoir for the resort is having some problems, it's not holding as much water as it should, so to make sure we have enough water for everyone staying here at the resort we aren't taking any new bookings until the weekend."
Over 350 people were evacuated out of their homes on Sunday but were given permission yesterday to return with the exception of two units, and the debris continuing to block driveways in some areas is expected to be cleared away by mid-week.
"The debris has pushed water in numerous different directions and our main priority remains getting the original Fairmont Creek channel cleared of debris so that we can re-establish the channel and keep all the water flowing within it," RDEK communications officer Loree Duczek said in a release. "This is going to take time, but we are working as quickly as we can."
The RDEK and the Ministry of Transportation will be closely monitoring water levels and ensuring culverts are kept clear of debris over the next few days as more rainfall is in the forecast.