Council knew of landslip risk


Council knew of landslip risk

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council was told two months ago that a section of the Foster Mirboo Road, which collapsed last week in a sudden landslide, was cracked and sloping dangerously to one side.

So much soil has been dislodged from the crumbling cliff face that it has marched about 500 metres into the valley below, filling two dams along the way.

Council’s engineering services director Anthony Seabrook indicated there could be more road slips to come, due to recent heavy rains.

Glenda Williams, the woman who reported the damage, said council did little to repair the road – a “patch up” job at best.

The Foster Mirboo Road resident has now requested an inquiry into the lacklustre response, believing it was only luck that no-one was killed when the road fell away and slid down the sheer precipice.

“This wasn’t just a crack. It was sloping down. I’m just a housewife, but I can tell where something is going to give way,” Mrs Williams said.  

She has written a letter to council asking them to investigate why her report was not taken seriously. Another letter was despatched to Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan, who replied – saying he would discuss the matter with council.

Council operations manager Fred Huitema said he was aware of Mrs Williams’ complaints and had made an examination of the road.

“With the amount of rain we’ve had two months ago, we’ve had lots of roads cracked and we were monitoring it. We had no idea of how large or how deep this one actually was,” he said.

“We were keeping an eye on it and we did have lots of others that had actually slipped, so we were busy with those and because this one hadn’t gone yet, we were just keeping an eye on it.

“But any patch up we could’ve done on it wouldn’t have worked, because it was so deep and there was so much water in it.

Any patching we could’ve done wouldn’t have salvaged it and wouldn’t have saved it from going.”

Mrs Williams said she has had recurring nightmares about the slip.

“I’m feeling lots of different emotions at the moment, but mostly frustration and anger,” she said.

The Williamses are about 1.3km from the intersection of the South Gippsland Highway and live in the first house on the other side of the massive hole. They now have to travel an extra 30 minutes or more to get to the highway, via Ameys Track.

But they know well enough that fate could well have dealt them a much crueller hand.  

“We came through there at 11.30pm last Tuesday (June 21) – in the dark and coming around that bend. You just wouldn’t have seen it,” she said.

“We were just talking to our neighbour – he’s the one who reported it at 5.30am the next day – who almost drove off the edge. He could quite easily have gone in, since it was dark and raining.

“I told them (council) that the road was giving way, and the guy took notes of where it was and said he had put in a request for me.

“Later on I got a phone call to say that it had been inspected, and that it wasn’t giving way and it was only a crack.”  

The road may not be repaired for six months, due to heavy rains.

Holey hell: Peter and Glenda Williams are counting their blessings that they did not drive off the side of the Mirboo Foster Road. Mrs Williams believes South Gippsland Shire Council did not properly repair the road.

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Posted by on Jul 5 2011. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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