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Mira Mar landslide blame game continues as petition launched

Tuesday November 30, 2021 - 23:45 AEDT
ABC image
Six homes in Mira Mar have been affected by the landslip. - ABC

Residents have begun a petition seeking the WA Water Minister to take responsibility for a landslip that has severely damaged properties in Albany.

The development comes as the state's Water Corporation said a burst water main is not to blame for a landslide.

A hillside in the seaside suburb of Mira Mar has dropped several metres in recent months prompting evacuation orders on six properties off Sleeman Avenue and Anzac Road.

As a result, five homes have been abandoned.

Authorities believe the slip was caused by a combination of substantial winter rains on the south coast and the clay soils of the slope.

However, some residents believe a burst water main on Sleeman Avenue on July 30 sparked the slide.

Anthony Kingston's mother Jane Kingston has been forced to leave her Anzac Road property after a building notice was issued by the City of Albany warning of a potential catastrophic landslide.

Residents blame burst water main

Mr Kingston has begun an online petition calling for WA Water Minister Dave Kelly to take responsibility for the incident.

"The pipe burst and the three houses immediately started collapsing above them, and as those houses collapsed the soil started sliding down the hill towards the lower houses," he said.

"The residents there have received no support, the Water Corporation has taken no responsibility for the issue.

"My mum came around one day, extremely upset, saying she didn't want the grandkids to come over to the house anymore."

Other residents on Anzac Road echoed Mr Kingston's comments and said their home insurance did not cover naturally occurring landslides, which have left their properties worthless.

Water Corporation has refuted the claim citing records of movement on Sleeman Avenue dating back to 2013.

Landslip may have caused pipe rupture

Water Corporation Great Southern regional manager Adrian Stewart said the burst water main released between 70,000 to 140,000 litres, but winter rainfall of 400 millimetres in the suburb, dumped 2.7 million litres over recent months.

Mr Stewart said the water main was repaired within hours. Investigations continue, but Mr Stewart believes that subsoil slippage on the hillside may have caused the rupture.

"Initial observations suggest record rainfall between April and September this year, including a severe Albany storm event in late June [that] saturated soils in the area," he said.

"[This] appears to have contributed to significant ground movement near Sleeman Avenue."

Water pumps continue to draw water out of the soil along Sleeman Avenue.

The landslide has sparked a bureaucratic debate over which agency should take responsibility.

In October, the state government commissioned a geotechnical report into the area that followed on several reports commissioned by the City of Albany and Water Corporation. The initial reports have not been released to the public.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said Water Corporation had advised him it was "not responsible for the land slippage at Mira Mar".

"Water Corporation is continuing to engage with affected residents and the City of Albany, and has provided assistance to support dewatering efforts," he said.


© ABC 2021

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