Residents forced from their homes after a deadly landslide two years ago will finally be able to return to their small B.C. community when the evacuation order is lifted Thursday.
Four people died on July 12, 2012, when the slide swept through Johnsons Landing, about 756 km east of Vancouver.
Approximately 320,000 cubic metres of earth, trees and rocks descended the Gar Creek channel and flowed at speeds estimated to be upwards of 150 km/h in some places, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) said.
Officials ordered an evacuation after the slide damaged roads and destroyed the water system, effectively isolating the community of about 35 people.
Most residents left, but six chose to stay.
As of Wednesday, there were 16 residents whose houses were either inaccessible or damaged beyond use, or who were still under evacuation order.
The RDCK issued a notice that the order will be rescinded as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
But that doesn't mean the area is completely safe, the agency said.
"There are varying degrees of hazard — and accompanying risk of the possibility of future landslides," spokesman Brian Carruthers said.
However, there is no "imminent danger."
Multiple provincial ministries and regional agencies have been assisting with the recovery, and will continue to monitor the site "for the foreseeable future," the RDCK said.
The recovery team has helped arrange financial assistance for some residents, and is working with two local committees to address ongoing issues such as transportation, medical treatment, debris removal and counselling.