Vancouver Island ‘lucky’ 6.6 magnitude earthquake wasn’t closer
Port Hardy is a district municipality in British Columbia and is located on the north-eastern coast of Vancouver Island. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
The provincial government says those near Port Hardy should be breathing a sigh of relief that significant damage and injuries weren’t caused by a 6.6-magnitude quake that smacked B.C.’s coast Wednesday night.
Emergency Management B.C.’s Chris Duffy said on Thursday the quake is another reminder residents need to have family and community emergency plans.
He said individuals or families should think of preparedness like a bull’s-eye — with the highest importance to yourself in the centre, before spreading out to immediate neighbours, and then the wider community.
“If (this quake) was under a more populated area we would’ve seen more damages and injuries,” Duffy said.
“If I was to say anything, I would say we were lucky as to its location.”
The quake struck approximately 85 kilometres south of Port Hardy at what’s considered a “shallow” depth — which increases risk of damage — of 11.4 kilometres.
Two subsequent aftershocks also hit the area within 20 minutes, with magnitudes of 5.0 and 4.2, respectively.
Duffy said EMBC met with its partners just before noon on Thursday — all have reported back no significant damage or injuries.
“Everyone has a look at their critical infrastructure … BC Hydro would go out and inspect any dams that may be at risk,” he said.
“Fortis will look at gas lines and ensure their integrity and do pressure checks … at the Ministry of Transport, they’ll look at roads and bridges and any other areas that may be at risk.”
BC NDP education critic Rob Fleming said the government announced in 2004 it would seismically repair all at-risk schools by 2020, but less than half the work has been done.
“There are well over 100 remaining priority schools where projects haven’t even been approved, yet alone broken ground,” he said.
Fleming said if the Ministry of Education doesn’t have money to fix schools it should borrow some.
“Making schools safe is one of things government has to borrow for. These are capital upgrades, it can be done efficiently.”
He said the quake is a reminder of seismic risks in some areas of B.C., given how the Big One is still expected on the horizon.
More information on earthquake preparedness can be found at emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca.