Landslip in Blackstone Heights

Blackstone Heights Landslip

Landslip in Blackstone Heights

MAY 2015 | JOANNE EISEMANN

 

 Mike Moores

IN MID 2014 Meander Valley Council asked residents to vacate several properties in Blackstone Heights as they have been assessed as unsafe due to landslip problems.

In the early noughties, Eva Griffiths purchased one of the now vacated homes.

Eva moved to Tasmania from Victoria, not having any idea she was moving into a known landslip area and says she is disappointed that Council did not inform her of the possibility when she applied for planning permission to build a deck and lay a cement slab in 2002.

The slab moved slightly after laying. Eva sought professional help and was advised not to be concerned.

In July 2009, Ben Lomond Water took over responsibility for water from Council.

The problem became apparent around August of that year, when the water company did some digging on the easement of Eva’s property. Within a couple of days, land around the digging site had slipped about a metre.

Eva wrote a letter to the water company, but Ben Lomond Water accepted no responsibility for the slippage.

Ben Lomond Water returned around a year later and dug a test hole that was just six inches deep on the other side of the property.

Within a day or so, there was a foot of slippage around that hole.

By this time Eva had begun  building another dwelling on her property and, from the balcony of that property, she could see that the slab on the first house was moving further and further from its original position.

Council met with property owners and investigated the problem, which led to the eventual request to move.

Eva continues paying mortgages on two properties  hat she is unable to reside in or collect rent from.

The slab has now moved approximately 24 inches and the front 2 metres of the slab has broken off and slid down the slope towards the lake.

Eva engaged an engineer who designed a retaining wall to contain the slippage and stabilise the batter to resolve the problem. She hoped to complete this work before winter.

Although the engineer requested that Council treat the matter as urgent, they are still waiting for approval.

Meander Valley Council’s Mayor, Craig Perkins, says that the whole matter is under investigation by Council’s insurers, who will report to Council.

“Those reports haven’t yet been finalised, but we know that all the steps that Council has taken since the properties were developed over twenty years ago have all been appropriate and met our requirements.”

Mayor Perkins further commented, “there will be a report provided to council that we will be able to put on our website for people to see a summary of what has happened.”