I'M WRITING to respond to a letter by Bernadette George and comments from others who live in the area affected by landslips and gully overflows in the Frenchville area.
Firstly I have to say that I am not for a moment trying to minimise the impact that people have experienced or their legitimate concern.
We really struggle to understand the force of nature and the CEO and I visited some of these impacted areas again yesterday to watch council crews as they cleared creeks and gullies.
Nothing that I say here is trying to diminish what has happened to people as their properties have been eroded or awash with water.
Many people are saying that they have seen more water in the last couple of years than they've ever seen before. Yet, others are telling me they are seeing less water in gullies and creeks near their property.
And then of course there are waterways and easements full of boulders the size of basketballs and gym balls! Also, the Mount Morgan Range and now Mount Archer (more easily seen on the Pilbeam Dr side) have seemingly collapsed under the weight of the amount of water that has been dumped on them in the last few years. It seems as though the mountain itself has changed its shape.
Council has begun clearing the gullies, the waterways, the easements and this has been supported to some level by the State Government department responsible for waterways.
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Had this approval not been forthcoming, it would have been a matter of do it now and ask forgiveness later.
That said, we are going to be seriously looking for money from both State and Federal Government to help fund this work as is not primarily council's responsibility, nor is it on council land.
We simply felt that it was in our community's interest for us to get in and do it.
Questions have been raised about why some subdivisions were allowed to go ahead in the 1990s, etc. Or why houses have since been approved.
At the risk of upsetting a lot of people I would have to say that it may not have been apparent to the council of the day or to the developers that a watercourse on the mountain above their heads would change so dramatically. It's always easy to be wise after the fact.
I understand that there may be a call for residents to band together and take class action against council for past decisions or approvals. That is for them to decide.
For now, council is just getting in and trying to clean up as best we can and we are hoping for support from the State Government to try to deal with some of the problems at their source in the National Park at the top of the hill.
- Margaret Strelow