Tyndale residents blowing up at highway upgrades
AFTER 11 years of dealing with Roads and Maritime Services over their planned Pacific Hwy upgrade at Tyndale, Pamela Walliss and her housemate Bill Randell say it's clear the government department doesn't care about them.
The residents claim that Ms Walliss's home, built in the 1930's, has been damaged when the RMS conducted a seismic survey, which has also created faults through the sandstone in the hill behind their property and altered the course of underground springs, causing water damage to the house.
"I've been in engineering and mining and construction, I've been the engineer in charge of the development of 12km of tunnel underground in a mine, and I'm standing here and I felt the vibrations through my feet and I thought said they must be doing seismic surveying in this area, and Pam said 'what do you mean, they blast?'," Mr Randell said.
"Before they did the seismic survey there were no springs coming out of the back hill. Now it's changed direction, and the springs come up where they haven't been before and it's been washing all the dirt from the front of the property.
"I understand construction, and because I've been involved in it through my working life, I really don't want to be here for three years while they're tearing the hill behind the property apart. I can see by the people we've dealt with that the RMS don't really care about anybody."
Ms Walliss said she and her neighbours were not made aware of the repercussions of any seismic surveying.
"I am a lay person, I didn't know that seismic surveying meant blasting," she said.
"We didn't anticipate that when they did the seismic survey, which meant blasting holes, may cause damage to our homes and we were not advised that this was going to happen. I for one feel cheated, as damage was caused to my home and they will not fix it.
"They said it was settled, and it wasn't."
Ms Walliss and Mr Randell said the problems with the RMS began in 2005, when the pair decided to go into business together and were negotiating with banks to obtain a loan.
"I came home to find a letter from the RMS and it said they were going to take my place, and after that the bank pulled out of the contract," Ms Walliss said.
"We were really pissed off, because we had planned it as a five year retirement business."
Ms Walliss said in 2009, the RMS changed their plans and no longer wanted to acquire the property, so Ms Walliss and Mr Randell started to renovate the property.
However, the plans changed and put the proposed highway closer to the rear of the property than Ms Walliss anticipated.
"Initially the routes that were discussed were to bypass my property by a kilometre," she said.
"Then the final route was accepted, and it included going up the side of my property and 60 metres from my back boundary. Now I've found out that it's actually 60 metres from the back wall of my house, not the boundary of my property."
It's devalued our property, and when they start building the highway it's going to be seven or eight metres down it will be so much worse, we won't have a house left."
Roads and Maritime Service Pacific Hwy general manager Bob Higgins has denied the seismic surveying conducted at Tyndale caused any damage to houses.
The seismic survey took place in 2012, and Mr Higgins said the charges used were less than a kilogram.
"These charges are very small, and that's all we need," he said.
"The residents say we have caused damage to their houses, but they're very small charges, which then cause very low vibrations. We have difficulty in trying to say with the nature of work that we did, and the small charges that we used caused the damage that they allege."
Mr Higgins said the plans for the highway upgrade are constantly being modified and adapted.
"What's happening at the moment is that we are looking at the grade of road through there, and if we can lift the grade it reduces the amount of excavation, and at this stage it looks like won't have to remove as much material as first thought," he said.
"We've got a concept design that we took out to residents, and as we get further information we are always fine tuning the design, and that's going on now, and we will probably get to a better position over the next few months.
"People might say that we're not talking to them, and think that we've made up our mind, but that's not the case at all.
"What we do with highway design is look at all the issues and try and get the best balance between all the various competing factors, but we're very conscious of the impact on residents."
If we can limit the amount of excavation using blasting then that's what we will aim to do, but we've got a highway to build."