By Urban Anomie
The tsunami that struck Calgary and the town of High River in June has left the city with countless sinkholes – some capable of swallowing people, some, entire city blocks. On Thursday, the southwest neighbourhood of Silverado was noticed to be missing by a mail carrier on her route, and experts agree that the earth must have swallowed it up.
“It was around 8:20 in the morning, I went up to house number 806301 to deliver their National Geographic and Girls and Corpses magazines, and noticed a giant hole,” says Karen Peters, who’s been delivering mail for Canada Post since 1987.
“I was like, ‘hey, this isn’t right,’ and called 9-1-1. You couldn’t even see the bottom of the hole it was so deep.”
Police and sinkhole experts arrived on scene, and cordoned off the 3200-metre wide sinkhole.
“This is some sci-fi level seriousness,” said Julia Verne, Director of the City’s Emergency Sinkhole Response Team. “There has never been a sinkhole of this size in Canada. We don’t even know what’s down there – there could be anything. Giant bugs? Undiscovered monsters? Maybe that’s where Atlantis went. The point is, we don’t know!”
Sinkholes are formed when water moves underground, washing away the gravel and sand, leaving nothing to support the pavement on top, thus causing the ground to collapse into itself.
While officials say they’ve taken care of most of the small sinkholes, there are several communities they’ve never even heard of which have yet to be inspected.
“When I got the call that Silverado had been swallowed by a sinkhole, I thought they were talking about that truck we found 300-feet underground in Elbow Park two days past,” says Richard Jackman of the City’s Roads Department.
“When they said, ‘no, dumbass—the neighbourhood,’ I thought they were shittin’ us. I’d never heard of Silverado.”
Residents of other Calgary neighbourhoods gathered to gawk and get in the way of emergency crews, some bringing along their cameras, others toting picnic baskets and BBQs.
“All these people make it hard for those who need to be here to get around,” said Aaron Myers as he double-parked next to an ambulance. “I don’t know why the city doesn’t tow them.
Myers, who drove in with his family from Brentwood to inspect the damage first hand and take pictures to post on Facebook, says it’s unfortunate such a tragedy had to happen to a nice neighbourhood.
“Why couldn’t this happen somewhere in the northeast?”
The City has been unable to make any estimates as to casualties, because nobody seems to know anyone who lives in Silverado.
“We’re working on it,” says Verne. “But frankly, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
If residents spot a sinkhole, or notice a neighbourhood is missing, they are asked to report it by calling 3-1-1. Even if it’s in the northeast.