I attended two community meetings at Deviot last week on the Deviot Landslide issue. This project is being run by West Tamar Council and there’s a steering committee comprising:
Both meetings were well attended – over 50 residents plus council staff – including council GM and chief engineer. Andrew gave an outline of the process and Derek went to some detail on the geology of the area of what could be the causes. He invited any residents with landslip issues – as well as people who had long term knowledge of the area to contact him so he could visit their properties and gain a greater insights.
Derek is camping at the Deviot Hall so it is convenient to have such access to a qualified expert. As Andrew said – “landslip – the ignored natural disaster”. We know so much about bushfire and floods – but those disasters still happen. Our knowledge of landslip is lacking – especially in the community – but even the experts are learning. Whereas we all know how to prepare our house for a bushfire we’re not so knowledgeable about preparing out house to best mitigate landslides.
It’s also apparent that many areas of the valley have similar problems. There is a map showing landslide hazard bands readily available the “The List” website and it shows areas of high risk in many locations.
One of the object of Derek’s report – which will be released at the end of September is to determine the causes, effects and impacts and from that information we can mitigate the problem. Alex, a geologist from Switzerland recounting a cheering story from Verbier where they had serious geological issues that were affecting the values of property – but once the problem was understood and measures put in place to mitigate the effect then confidence returned to the area and it has thrived.
Its apparent to me that we can’t change nature – and when we change the land we can have unwanted consequences. Many year ago, there would have been a few shacks and a gravel road – probably not a big impact on the land and the locals that built were very familiar with their land. Along comes a bitumen road and large houses, maybe cut into the profile. Waste water systems handing much greater volumes than ever, wholesale tree clearance and large impervious areas with inadequate drainage. Everything you shouldn’t do in a landslip area!
There are many things that can be done to help the situation and Andrew has guides on sympathetic design for landslip areas. Derek’s reports will highlight things that need to done – I’m pretty sure road drainage is going to get a mention but there may be other short term solutions that can help.
Andrew has stated that this report will not fit on his shelf and the problems will not be pushed aside so I’m confident things can only get better.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any information.