Mom wants signs put up to warn of potential landslide hazard 

Kids pulled from ski teams, family only skiing Blackcomb

Terry Bradburn won’t rest until signs are put up at the transit bus loop and in the day-skier parking lots between Whistler and Blackcomb warning of the potential for a landslide in the area.

And she wants some level of government to hurry up and take responsibility for the Fitzsimmons landslip and do something to mitigate the risk of it partly or completely sliding.

"I am not going to stop until it is fixed," said Bradburn a Washington Sate resident who bought property in Whistler five years ago to ski with her two daughters and husband.

In fact she is so concerned she has even pulled her two daughters, 10 year-old Morgan and Stephanie, 12, off local ski teams in case their activities take them near the slide area.

"I don’t want them anywhere near that area and I am serious enough about this that I puled them off their ski-racing teams," said Bradburn.

Bradburn learned of the slide risk while watching the evening international news at her Washington home.

"I thought I was imagining things," she said. "I thought this can’t be real."

The next morning Bradburn began to research the situation via the Internet.

She found the story and began to call people quoted in the articles, including the mayor to find out more.

She also got those she interviewed to send her engineers’ reports and did some further research on her own.

"I was boggled by the length of time the knowledge has been there and nothing has been done," said Bradburn.

For decades the resort has lived under the shadow of a slide about the size of seven football fields, 35 metres thick with rock and soil. It is about 2.5 kilometres above the town on Whistler Mountain.

Measurements last month showed the area had moved 2.5 metres vertically in the last two years, in part due to torrential rains in October.

While the town has some protection thanks to a diking system the concern is that a landslide would release a torrent of debris into the transit bus-loop area and two day-skier parking lots between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Bradburn met with Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly last Friday to outline her concerns.

"I did a lot of homework (before the meeting) to make sure this was all based on fact not on passion," said Bradburn who said she left the meeting without her concerns being addressed.

"He told me it was going to be fixed but he has been saying that since 1998.

"I asked him to fix it this summer. That is my intention, to get it fixed and to have warning signs put up this winter.

"The mayor told me that he doesn’t think it is possible to fix it by this summer."

Until it is fixed, said Bradburn, her family will only be skiing on Blackcomb.

O’Reilly said he understands Bradburn’s fears and work is on-going on this issue.

"I indicated to her that we are still in discussions with the provincial government regarding responsibility and mediation," he said.

"I know it has been on the books for many, many years… but again with the Olympics coming we have so many discussions with the province this is just one more piece in that puzzle that we are putting forward.

"It is a broader issue than just our local community. But people that have investments who live outside the community perceive it as a real issue.

"There are high level discussions and it is not one that we are just sort of saying, ‘oh well, we will deal with that later.’

"They realize that this is something that we need to deal with sooner or later and we are hoping that we can get some sort of resolution."

The complicating factor is reaching a solution is determining who is responsible for any mitigation of the landslip. It is on Crown land but within municipal boundaries.

The municipality believes the provincial government has a role to play in addressing the issue. But a government spokesman said this week that it is up to the municipality to fix the problem.

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