The Capital Regional District is holding off on repairing a Sooke Potholes Regional Park viewing area closed since January because of a landslide.
The viewing area, near the abandoned Deertrail resort, is likely to experience continued failure of the adjacent slope and the timing of any future slides can’t be predicted or mitigated, officials said.
“It would take a tremendous amount of work to make that area meet our standard of safety and it isn’t anticipated that we’ll be undertaking that sort of work … at least not in the foreseeable future,” said Jeff Leahy, the CRD’s senior manager of parks.
An engineer’s report in late January confirmed the steep slopes near the viewing areas were in danger of future rock slides caused by freeze and thaw action during the winter months that act to destabilize the slope.
“You can’t just look up the slope and see that there is a hazard. That’s why we had the engineer’s report done. We need people to stay out of that area,” Leahy said.
There are other viewing areas further north in the park that remain open.
The ruins of the ill-fated Deertrail resort are a constant source of trouble for park officials.
“Frankly, climbing around in those ruins is not safe and that’s why we have it fenced off and have posted signs telling people to keep out of the site,” Leahy said.
“It seems no matter how many signs you put up or how high the fence, some people see that as an invitation to go in there. It’s not safe and people need to stay out of those ruins. Period.”
A request for proposals was released last spring for the demolition and removal of the abandoned lodge. CRD officials are reviewing the submissions and determining whether the demolition of the site will move forward.
The unique rock formations at the 69-hectare Sooke Potholes Regional Park were carved out by glacial action some 15,000 years ago and have become a favourite vacation destination.