The Westerner

Buy back calls over hillside slip

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Source: Lee Oliver

Deb and David Aldrick believe council should not have allowed a housing estate at Highvale to be built.

Deb and David Aldrick believe council should not have allowed a housing estate at Highvale to be built.

A Highvale homeowner fears she may never be able to sell her property, which was damaged in a massive erosion event 15 months ago.

Deb Aldrick’s house was inundated by a torrent of mud and rocks after heavy rain caused a landslip behind her home in January 2011.

The Aldrick’s insurance covered the damage to their house, but a large chasm behind their home, more than 50m long and up to 5m deep, is yet to be fixed.

“Even though we have the money to fix this we don’t think we will be able to sell the property,” Mrs Aldrick said.

“Even if we did sell the property we don’t want to be passing the problem on to another family.

“I want Council to buy it back because it (the land) never should have been subdivided in the first place.”

Correspondence between Moreton Bay Regional Council and engineering firm GHD, commissioned to undertake a geological investigation of the site, and obtained through a freedom of information search, supports her concerns.

The engineer who inspected the site with councillor Bob Millar (Division 11) noted the Aldricks live in a “geologically dynamic environment that should never have been developed in the first place”.

Mrs Aldrick said attempts to source a hydrology report for the estate proved fruitless, with Council stating the document is “nonexistent or nonlocatable”.

“It just irks of them covering it up,” she said.  “It seems that this council, unless they have a photo opportunity, don’t bother with their commitments to their community.”

Mrs Aldrick believes Council’s own mapping shows other properties, including some at a new housing estate at Dayboro, are also in “potential landslide areas”.

“After what happened to us, I think this is absolutely disgusting, if this is true, that this council is still trying to develop land in unsafe areas,” she said.

Cr Millar, who helped secure volunteer labour and machinery to assist the Aldricks, was unaware if Council had received a formal request to buy back the property.

He is part of a working group investigating the possibility of acquiring flood-affected houses around the region.

“We are advanced in developing a policy in respect to possibly buying back flooded properties,” Cr Millar said.

“I wouldn’t want to give any indication whether someone is in or out of the scheme, as the policy has not yet been fully developed or adopted.”

After “holding off until the dry season”, Mrs Aldrick said work to fix the ravine on the property, funded by the St Vincent’s De Paul Society from donations to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund, will begin soon.

“There is no doubt that these folks have suffered a terrible and traumatic experience at the hands of nature,” Cr Millar said.

“I am very pleased that at the end of the day the Aldricks have been acquitted of having to spend what could have left them substantially more out of pocket.”

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