Council ignores flooding home
My husband and I bought our first home at 4 Felix Street Cawarral in September 2005. We had all the checks done before purchase and our house was not in a flood area. If you can recall Rockhampton was in severe drought from 2004 until the drought broke in December 2006.
In early 2006 we applied to our bank to gain funds to renovate our house. We also applied to Council for building permission and submitted plans which were approved. We renovated our home at a cost of over $120000. At the end the house was valued at $350000 in 2009.
In January 2007 the drought broke with heavy rainfall. Our house and block flooded ( photos attached). Each and every rain event after that date , our house flooded. The flood water was storm water runoff from all the properties up Felix street that converged at the inadequate drain between Felix Street and Coorooman Ck Rd. We took photographs and videos of each event and so did all of our tenants. We contacted Council and asked for assistance to prevent our house from flooding. SES were sandbagging us regularly. Our neighbours and some have lived there for 20 years or more all remarked that flooding never occurred in Felix Street before the road was sealed. All of their driveway materials was washing down onto our block.
We discovered that in late 2004, Council had sealed Felix Street and lifted the height of the road. Before this was done the storm water ran down the middle of Felix Street, across Coorooman Ck Road and into the drain now it ran down the west side of Felix, crossed over to the east side and filled up our corner block. That caused our corner block to turn into a dam. As the drains were inadequate for the water flow the water backed up and flooded the house. Water was seeping under the wall frames into the house. The Telstra pit on front of our block that services Cawarral was regularly 800 mm under water.
We contacted Brett Svendsen who visited our house and he sent the works supervisor to inspect. The supervisor told us unless they find gold in Cawarral, Council would not help as it is Cawarral and not worth their trouble. He told us to build our garden beds up high to act as a barrier along the full length of the block. We did that and as you can see from the pictures. it failed. Glenda Mather also visited to inspect our flooded home.
Mid 2007 we started to notice our shower leaking, tiles cracking, mouldy walls, cracking cornices and backing up septic. We called our insurer AAMI who asked for an engineer's report. We called Graham Scott and Associates who compiled a report with just the photos that I emailed to him (no levels etc were taken). We called in a builder and he recommended Uretec to lift our slab as it was cracked under the bathroom. Uretc came and did levels and a report and said the inundation of our block had gouged away the substrate under the slab thereby causing the cracking. We also called in a master builder to quote on the leaking bathroom. He also did a report for the insurer. AAMI denied the claim as they do not cover washing away of substrate.
I applied to the LGM for a claim. Submitted the report and the claim was denied. He told us the onus was on us to provide substantial evidence. I got back to Browns Consulting and Graham Scott himself came to our house to inspect and took a year to provide a very detailed report with aerial levels, ground levels, contour maps, photographs and gave it to me to submit again. I did and the LGM Simon Kaye called me to tell me the report was very detailed and he would call in a Loss Assessor to get repairs started. I received his response yesterday and he has denied our claim yet again and insinuated that Graham Scott's report is incorrect. Graham Scott is an engineer for Council. I find this very disturbing.
The council came in 2010 and changed the contour and crown of the road again. Now the neighbours opposite are flooding too. If the road was not the issue, then why did Council come and redo the crown and seal in 2010?
2012. Our house was rented from 2008 until 2012. Our tenancy was always changing as tenants could not afford the flood water damaging their possessions. The toilet is tilted to one side and doesn't flush. We have to dig up the septic pipes yearly to increase the fall to the septic, the bathroom cubicle has leaked into the wall cavity and rusted away the wall frames and studs, doors don't close, tiles cracked, cornices falling off, plaster cracking, gutters coming away from the roof, mouldy floor coverings are just some of the issues we face. We have had these things fixed yearly and then the floods come and it starts all over again. We had a valuation done in 2011 and we had lost $225000 in value and cannot rent it as it is a health hazard now. This house is security for our other home in Emu Park. We can't sell that either as it is secured by Cawarral. We are paying off a house we can't sell or rent. We have to pay it off for the next 30 years. The issue is Storm water runoff from Felix Street over 7 years has permanently damaged our house. That is the issue. We have photographs, videos, reports, statements from neighbours and that is not enough evidence for Council to help us?
If we let water runoff into our neighbours yard and it damages their property, we are liable under law. Why is Council any different? Why are we being financially crucified due to no fault of our own? Why are we ignored by Council? We even went into the chambers at Yeppoon multiple times begging for help and we still have the case numbers. We are at a point where we have to do something. We have this enormous debt and no tenants, no way of selling. We pay our rates and have been all these years. We cannot get a loan to do more repairs and the house valuation prevents borrowing as there is negative equity now.
We do not know where to turn . No one listens nor cares about us. Fair enough if we bought the place with full knowledge of this issue. There was no issue until the road was sealed. Felix Street stormwater runoff inundated our 600m2 block, washed away the substrate and lifted our slab damaging the integrity of the house.
Cr Graham Scott created a very detailed report on this issue. Noone wants to take responsibility for our house.
This is not our fault so why should we be made to renovate our house twice?