Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Turtle Mountain Restricted Development Area

In 1903 over 70 people, living in the town of Frank, were killed in North America's Largest landslide when Turtle Mountain fell creating what is known now as the Frank Slide. Local lore says one day the mountain will fall again. Many locals have always believed that but just as many doubt that it will happen. Well upon the 100th anniversary of the slide, then premier, Ralph Klein announced he would spend over one million dollars for state of the art monitoring equipment to determine the amount of movement in the mountain and to provide a warning system to prevent such a tragedy, as happened in 1903, should the mountain fall once more.

The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board is responsible for monitoring the mountain and well over a year ago Corey Froese made a presentation to Crowsnest Pass council on the status of Turtle Mountain. Council was told that, yes, Turtle Mountain will fall again. He could not tell us when. It could be in a year. It could be in a few hundred years but it will fall. The monitioring equipment is sophisticated enough to provide weeks of advance warning of a slide. So danger to life is minimal. With the advance warning there will be more than enough time to evacuate any people in the area.

Land, of course, can not be moved and houses can only be moved with great difficulty. This prompted council to place a temporary moratorium on rezoning, subdivision and development in the potential runout area of a future slide path. The move created a great deal of angst with the residents currently living in the potential slide zone.

While council is still pushing the province for a risk assesment of the area in order that a long term plan for the area can be created council has come up with a better short term solution for those residents living in the shadow of Turtle mountain and last night passed first reading of a land use amendment creating a direct control zoning for the area. You can view a copy of the bylaw here. The land use amendment will put control of this zone in the hands of council and will allow residents to build structures such as garages, sheds, and other out buildings as well as repair or replace buildings damaged by natural or man made causes. Residents will be able to apply for new residential structures and additions to current structures. Second and third readings of the bylaw will be decided on after a public hearing on the land use amendment. The public hearing and subsequent readings of the bylaw should take place in Crowsnest Pass council chambers on March 25. With many hearings scheduled it is possible that the hearing could take place on April 1st. When I get confirmation as to the hearing date I will post it here.


  1. I know this is an old post, but I've heard that they have an idea of where it will fall next time, and that it will be on Hillcrest. But do they know what part of Hillcrest? My grandma says that she heard it would be near Riverbottom. She lives in Hillcrest too, but closer to the Mine Hill.

    I was just thinking about it because I went to the Interpretive Centre a couple of days ago.