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UPDATE: North Okanagan couple lose home and 30-year business due to landslide risk

Arvid and Audrey Hoglund.
Image Credit: Submitted
March 28, 2017 - 1:45 PM

MINISTRY OF FORESTS RESPONDS TO CONCERNS THAT LOGGING LED TO LANDSLIDE

NORTH OKANAGAN - A North Okanagan couple is scrambling after the province informed them they have one month to leave their home and business at the Pinaus Lake Resort near Falkland.

Arvid and Audrey Hoglund, 78 and 76 years old, were ordered to close the resort on March 14 by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, due to risk of landslide.

The Hoglunds, who have owned and operated the resort for 30 years, declined an interview with iNFOnews.ca, but sent a written statement explaining the situation.

“We were shocked that we were told we had just 30 days to get all our belongings and get out,” Audrey says in the release.

The couple was informed in November 2016 of land activity in the area but was not under the impression it was an immediate threat to their livelihood. The Hoglunds had observed some land movement over the years, including cabin structures, but not to an extent that it alarmed anyone.

The Hoglunds suggest the issue could be a natural occurrence or the result of road and forestry development. They say that in the Crown land above the resort, B.C. Forestry and Tolko Industries has spent 10 years logging the area. Images provided to the couple show that the run off from this logging area trickles directly down onto the resort.

In response iNFOnews.ca's request for an interview, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations sent a written statement. In it, the ministry states a recent report by a geoscientist revealed the land surrounding Pinaus Lake Resort is unstable. 

"The land mass immediately above the resort is an earthflow and the movement is ongoing. The earthflow or soil creep puts the resort and its residents and guests at risk. As a result, the ministry notified the resort operators of the need to vacate the leased property," the ministry says. 

While concerns have been raised in the community that logging is a potential cause of the issue, the ministry states "the stability issue is deep seeded and there does not appear to be a link as the area has not seen any logging for decades."

"Public safety is always the number one priority. The ministry will continue to monitor the situation closely," the ministry says. 

Arvid and Audrey do not own the land the resort is located on and tried to purchase it on three separate occasions but were denied by the province each time, according to their statement. As a result, they say they have now lost their only source of income, the life they built over the past three decades and their home.

The family is working with the province to extend the amount of time allowed to remove their belongings, sell off assets and remediate the land.

“It’s all very upsetting and we just want to be able to get our stuff out of there. I can’t spend too much time up there because I need to have my oxygen with me,” Arvid says. “It could take up to two years to clear everything out.”

He expects expenses for removal will reach the half a million-dollar mark — money they don’t have. Up until now, there has been no compensation or talk of compensation for the couple, who have lost their only source of income.

The Hoglunds wish to express their thanks to their customers and everyone on social media who has reached out to the family.

“Your friendship and support through the years has been appreciated and we could not have done it without you,” Audrey says.

Family members have started a GoFundMe campaign to help the seniors raise money. 

There is no access to Pinaus Lake or Lady King Lake from the resort area. Access to Pinaus is only available from the forestry campsite and Lake King can be accessed by hiking in from the opposite end of the resort. The public is being told to stay away from the resort itself because the province has deemed the area too dangerous.

— This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. March 28, 2017 to include a statement from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. 


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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