Call for tough measures on land clearing


PALM BEACH councillor Daphne McDonald is seeking assurances from council's planning and development officers that the toughest legally possible rules and regulations are placed on development applications where land clearing is involved - especially on a hilly property.

Clearing of trees and natural ground covers should also be closely monitored.

Few know more about the heartache of property owners whose homes are threatened by subsidence than Cr McDonald.

Throughout the early 1990s, soon after her election, she was confronted by widespread home subsidence at Palm Beach where the backs of homes were broken as foundations cracked. Damage occurred as the council of the day began de-watering for the installation of sewerage.

This had nothing to do with land clearing, but sufferings of those on the present Currumbin Hill devastation must be similar.

At Palm Beach during that terrible time for 30 or more property owners, months and months of meetings ensued.

A class action was finally suc- cessful and compensation won from State Government insurers and council.

Cr McDonald remembers the pain endured by the litigants.

"No matter what the type of land erosion or slips, it has to be avoided and perhaps tougher conditions should be considered where legally possible," she said.

Of course, a certain amount of land clearing has to take place for homes to be built, but a careful assessment restricting a minimum of land disturbance, tough perhaps but far better in the long run is a criteria I would suggest council should seriously consider," Cr McDonald said.

Meanwhile Currumbin Hill Task Force chairperson Cr Christine Robbins said she supported the affected residents' decision to take their case to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

But at the same time, Cr Robbins wondered if the CMC was an appropriate authority.

She said the cost of the revetment wall now being built to protect six properties was about $900,000 all up. Council had given the residents 10 years to pay.

Cr Robbins emphasised again no property owner had been threatened by council with eviction.

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