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LIVING> West Quesnel Land Stability


A large ancient landslide underlies a significant area of West Quesnel. Ground movement has been occurring over a long period of time. The rate of movement has been slow, and is somewhat dependent on annual precipitation and snowmelt conditions.

Phase II Program (2016/2017)

Phase II includes four additional pump wells and four additional horizontal drain locations, the main focus of this project is surface water control in the form of storm water upgrades.

New or upgraded storm water systems will be installed on:

  • Anderson Dr between Baker Creek Bridge and Abbott Dr
  • Abbott Dr from Anderson Dr to Dawson St
  • Flamingo St from Abbott Dr to Lark Ave
  • Broughton Ave from Bouchie St to Boyd St
  • Healy St from Lewis Dr to Well Rd

The above noted streets will also be rebuilt including new asphalt, curbs and existing sidewalks replaced.

Along with the storm water upgrades is a new storm water treatment and infiltration area being constructed near the Elks Lodge on Anderson Dr. This three acre site will serve as a staging area for the project and will be re-shaped with all excess materials from this project. The end results will be a large landscaped swale area through the site to allow for infiltration during low flow events with an overland route to Baker Creek to accommodate high flow events. Provisions will be made for permanent pedestrian access in this area and maintenance access to the stormceptor treatment unit at the west end of the site.

An existing storm water infiltration area at the end of Healy St. will be further utilized as all storm water from Lewis Dr. above Healy St. will be diverted into this area.

It is important to note that both infiltration areas are outside of the slide area.

In 2015, the City received $4,850,102 in funding through the New Building Canada Fund for Phase II of the WQLS Project. The City is contributing the remaining amount of $2,425,053 bring the total estimated cost of the Phase II Project to $7,275,155.

The City has also budgeted $1,200,000 for additional road works, sidewalks, and curbing to allow for complete rebuilding of streets and sidewalks impacted by this storm water project.

Results of the West Quesnel Land Stability Program to Date

The engineering work to date has provided the following key findings:

  • A slow moving ancient landslide underlies part of West Quesnel; the area affected by movement has been confirmed and the boundaries of the area have been mapped. Movement is occurring slowly, about 2 to 7 cm (1 to 3 inches) per year with some variation within the identified area.
  • The movement is deep, from 28 to 68 metres (100 to 300 feet) below the surface.
  • Unless remedial measures are taken, movement will continue to occur.
  • Reducing groundwater pressures is key to reducing movement to manageable levels.
Impacts of the Ground Movement

Impacts on homes and other structures are varied. Some buildings have not been impacted because the slide is very deep and the ground around them moves uniformly. Buildings in other locations have sustained significant damage, including ongoing deformation resulting in structural cracks.

Ongoing ground movement has caused slow deformation which results in broken pipes and damage to roadways. The City has experienced frequent breaks in water and sewer pipes over the past number of years, all requiring expensive repairs.

FortisBC (then BC Gas), the principal underground utility in West Quesnel, replaced its steel piping system with a flexible polyethylene piping system in 2000 at a cost of $2 million.

Rationale for the West Quesnel Land Stability Program

West Quesnel is a desirable place to live and essential to the future of the City of Quesnel . The benefits to be achieved include:

  • Restoring equity values and liquidity for the 750 homeowners in West Quesnel. This will enable and encourage investment for upgrading and improvements and discretionary spending and add further value by stimulating economic activity.
  • As the City population grows in the future, the servicing infrastructure that is in place in West Quesnel will be available to service the nearly 200 infill properties. This will utilize the economic value of these assets, without the need for new subdivision development.
  • Successful remediation will alleviate both economic and psychological stress and will result in reduced impacts and less expense for health care and other social services.

The West Quesnel situation is not unique. Other communities have faced similar challenges with land movement and have been successful in slowing the movement to manageable levels. The solutions are expensive; therefore the City is proceeding carefully to choose the options that will produce the best results.


The initial development of the West Quesnel area occurred under provincial jurisdiction with subdivision approvals granted by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways.

The area was amalgamated into the Town of Quesnel and later the City of Quesnel starting with a small area in 1955. Additional areas were incorporated into the municipality in several increments. The most substantial amalgamations occurred in 1970 and 1975.

A large portion of the residential development occurred in a sustained growth period during the 1970s. Voyageur Elementary School was built in 1974.

West Quesnel has been the subject of a number of engineering investigations. Initial work done by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways in 1973 did not specifically address the area nor indicate a ground movement concern. Subsequent studies in the 1990s were inconclusive. Ground movement in West Quesnel was first conclusively proven in engineering work commissioned by the City in 2000-2002.

In 2003-2005 the City commissioned additional geotechnical and hydro-geotechnical work to outline the boundaries of the area impacted, the extent of movement and to provide guidance on remediation strategies.

The 2006 Work Plan was developed to expand on the knowledge gained in past years in order to ensure that the proposed mitigation measures were properly designed to achieve the best possible results for the money invested.

The completion of that work plan led to the development of a trial dewatering program, conducted in late 2007 and the spring of 2008.

The results of the trial dewatering program led to the design of a full-scale dewatering program in late 2008 and early 2009.

The West Quesnel Land Stability Program continues to be the highest priority for the City. The City is committed to implementing appropriate solutions.










Land Stability Study Area Map

Building in West Quesnel

Contact and Location

City Hall
410 Kinchant Street
Quesnel, BC V2J 7J5
250.992.2111 (t)

Business Hours

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)