STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundation to shift.
STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundation to shift. Alison Paterson

House in danger from flood landslip

A GOONELLABAH woman may be forced to abandon her home following a landslip in the wake of the March 31 floods.

Even though Zeny Rochester lives more than 150m above sea level, her home wasn't immune from water damage.

The damage to her property in Norwood Ave has been so serious, Lismore City Council issued her with a letter expressing their concerns about a landslip and advised her she may have to vacate her beloved home.

 

STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundation to shift. Here the tree roots have been exposed by the rain.
STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundation to shift. Here the tree roots have been exposed by the rain. Alison Paterson

In a letter dated July 24, council said it has concerns a landslip could cause her home to be unsafe.

The letter stated the dwelling would need to be certified by a structural engineer within 30 days to confirm it was still adequately safe to reside in, or the council would order her to cease using the property.

"The current condition of the property is not considered to represent a risk that would warrant the owner vacating the premises. But a further landslip could change that situation quickly - hence the need for the owner to take some action to assess the risk properly," the council stated.

"If the owner does not take any action, council can then proceed to issue notices and orders to require the necessary advice to be obtained and ensure property and lives are protected."

While the council has since decided Ms Rochester can stay in her home, she is not reassured by their lack of communication on the reasons for the cracks in her brick home or the subsidence in her backyard.

According to Ms Rochester, while council staff visited the property recently, advice to hire structural engineers to ensure the integrity of the property post-flood was beyond her financial means.

 

STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundations to shift. In the backyard, a friend points to the change in the ground level which was possibly caused by the rain.
STORM DAMAGE: A Goonellabah resident has suffered water-related damage to home due to ex-Cyclone Debbie which have caused her house foundations to shift. In the backyard, a friend points to the change in the ground level which was possibly caused by the rain. Alison Paterson

Her friend David Francis said he was appalled and angry about the council's approach to the situation, adding Ms Rochester was in despair about the situation.

"It's going to cost $10,000 to have a structural engineer and a geotechnical engineer and Ms Rochester has no money to pay for this," he said.

"I understand council are also dealing with several other properties in a similar situation in Goonellabah."

Like many residents impacted by natural disasters including the March 31 flood, Ms Rochester's insurance provider is not covering the damage.

A council spokeswoman said staff had responded to several landslips that occurred on private properties after the flood earlier this year.

"Council's primary concern is ensuring the safety of building occupants in the short and long term," she said.

"Council's role in most of these instances has been limited to a regulatory role, where we have been able to work with property owners in most instances to start work on identifying corrective action that may be required.

"There are other state agencies that may be able to provide disaster assistance if certain criteria are met."



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