Deviot Landslip Project
West Tamar Council is working cooperatively with landowners, State Agencies and Council to establish the causes and extent of landslides in the West Tamar Municipality. The Project is designed to illustrate the complexities which surround multiple statutory approvals and the added complexity of dealing with private land titles.
It is the full intention of Council as Project Manager to provide an open and transparent process that will use the latest technological advances made in relation to the identification of landslip areas and best practice management where development and landslip occur together. The Project is modelled on Commonwealth funded natural disaster funding guidelines designed to present an outcome which is considered both inclusive and informative for all agencies, in particular the community. The West Tamar Council are also investing additional funds towards the project to ensure the best outcome is achieved. The Project aims to provide a better understanding to solutions that both mitigate and ultimately prevent landslide from being more prominent as a natural disaster in the West Tamar region and beyond.
The timing of the Project commenced in early 2017 and a working Committee which consists of various State Agencies (Crown land, DPAC, Mineral Resources Tas, TasWater and specialist experts) and a community representative was set up under the direction of the West Tamar Council. The Council’s Municipal Planner Mr Andrew Brown has the chief responsibility of guiding the Project through the fact finding phase, the technical assessment and community consultation phase, to produce a report that will be available to all State Agencies and the community.
Council has been working with those land owners most directly affected by significant landslip at Deviot and have then expanded the consultation process to include all of the Deviot community in order to obtain their opinion and knowledge of living at Deviot. The Project has two aspects, the first being the experience of the local community in how they deal with issues surrounding living with or near landslip, and the second aspect being the technical data that can be gathered and assessed.
The timing of the Project after the initial consultation phase will be to consolidate both of these aspects to provide a comprehensive report that will help inform everyone.
On Wednesday 20th June and Saturday 23rd June, Council held two Community Meetings at the Deviot Town Hall run by our Municipal Planner and Geotechnical Engineer Dr Derek Pennington.
The meetings collected information and understanding from residents in the Deviot area, with many of those in attendance having lived in Deviot for over 20 years.
Some of the main issues discussed include slopes along the Tamar failing due to the water table rising, water usage in homes and water mains buried in the road. This is alongside vegetation reduction and how clearing of land impacts surrounding properties.
Council will be assisting in reducing landslip wherever possible, certainly in regards to road and drainage, as well as systems which residents might be able to implement on their properties.
A third public meeting was held on Sunday 9th December, to report to the community on the progress towards achieving the goal to 'better manage living with landslide and landslide risk'.
West Tamar Council’s Municipal Planner Andrew Brown opened the meeting with an outline of the project goals and what has happened so far in terms of community consultation and technical monitoring.
Then Geologist Colin Mazengarb from Mineral Resources Tasmania spoke about other instances of landslip located in Lawrence Vale Road, South Launceston, Rosetta, Taroona and Nelson, New Zealand. Mr Mazengarb explained how landslip was dealt with in these areas and explained how although avoidance is best, many areas of landslip already have people living in the area. We need to look at risk reduction instead of elimination, with all parties working together from the residents to local Councils, service providers and State Government bodies. The sea level rise is observable and will continue to rise, which will further disturb coastal areas.
Dr Derek Pennington followed on detailing the work which he’s undertaken on the Deviot landslip issue, visiting local residents and seeing first hand exactly how landslip has effected them. Dr Pennington is currently writing a report which will detail his findings and provide suggestions for people living in landslip areas throughout the Tamar.
Community representative Trevor Grant spoke about how pleased he was to see this project progressing and having spoken with Minister Peter Gutwein, he has a meeting set up with Minister Sarah Courtney to discuss compensation for those most effected.
Residents were encouraged to visit The LIST (Land information Systems Tasmania) to discover more about the geology of the area in which they live.
Council have committed to a higher urgency of general road maintenance in the area, as well as ensuring high rain events are better managed.
Interest was received from the community in forming a steering committee to ensure the project continues to move forward and stakeholders have accountability.
The findings of the project are applicable across all of the West Tamar, Tasmania and beyond. Council as a whole and state government agencies have a much better understanding of this situation now and moving forward, which will assist in areas of landslip outside of Deviot.
Community consultation forms part of the process in achieving a final report which will be completed for Council endorsement and then released as a public document. A working document aimed at getting people taking notice of their role in landslip mitigation with shared responsibility through governments, communities, business and individuals working together.
West Tamar Council as Project Manager continues to work with a dedicated Steering Group consisting of the Department of Justice (Premier and Cabinet), State Growth (Mineral Resources Tasmania - MRT), Crown Land Services, TasWater and not least Mr Trevor Grant (Community Representative).
Monday the 10th of December WTC also hosted an industry session to disseminate information and provide a training opportunity that engages those professions and industry players involved in development. This included land surveyors, designers and architects, building surveyors and builders, the real estate industry and conveyors.
The West Tamar Council are committed to building community resilience and self-reliance to natural hazards, alongside providing information to people looking to purchase a property in a landslip area.