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Living Near Steep Slopes

Risks of ravine or bluff slopes

Slope failures and landslides typically occur after an extended period of heavy rainfall when the slope becomes saturated with water, causing the soil structure on the slope to become weakened.

View the Steep Slopes Brochure (PDF. New window.) to learn about proper property management.

Realize the stability of the slope on your property can be affected by a number of factors. Your property care decisions at the top of a slope can influence the neighbours you have beside you, as well as those at the bottom of the slope.

Responsible stewardship for your ravine or bluff

The owner of the lot is responsible for stewarding their lot, regardless of whether the lots were developed before or in accordance with the City's current land development or building permit applications procedures.

To avoid future slope stability concerns, we've implemented a series of procedures to assess all land development and building permit applications located on or near slopes in Surrey.

Measures to address these concerns include

  • geotechnical evaluations,
  • increased building setbacks,
  • deep foundations,
  • the control and conveyance of stormwater, and
  • the planting and maintenance of vegetative ground cover on the slope itself.

We also complete a Ravine Stability Assessment every 2 years. In a Ravine Stability Assessment, all ravines in the City are inspected, and all erosion zones are documented and classified. A Professional Engineer further examines any sites with significant erosion, and remedial actions recommended by the Engineer are undertaken.

Signs of a slope failure

  • Springs, seeps or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before.
  • New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground.
  • Soil moving away from foundations.
  • Ancillary structure, such as decks and patios, tilting and/or moving relative to the main house.
  • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.
  • Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences.
  • Rapid increase in water levels, possibly associated with increased turbidity or muddiness in water.