An update on the major landslip on Toose Road
As an extension of the flood Emergency Operations Centre, Kempsey Shire Council senior staff, Kempsey Shire Mayor Leo Hauville, engineers, specialist geotechnical contractors and police met with around 20 residents in Bellbrook on Wednesday 13 April.
The aim of the meeting was to provide an explanation of the geotechnical report and severity of a major landslip that has occurred on Toose Road west of Bellbrook, discuss access options for the short and longer term and for Council to understand the specific needs of around eight property owners and managers who are cut off.
Kempsey Shire Council Director Operations and Planning, Robert Fish, said understandably there is a significant amount of frustration among the residents whose lives and incomes are being affected by this slip.
“The area is beautiful but rugged and serious farming country where the people who live there are highly resilient and used to solving complex problems on their property every day,” said Mr Fish.
“It’s a hard conversation to be told that this slip is dynamic and highly dangerous, could fail catastrophically at any time and that it’s not possible to dig out a bit of flatter ground like has been done in the past.”
The landslip has impacted a 90 metre section of the roadway with specialist engineers determining the slope continues to move, as it is part of an older larger landslip in the same extremely steep area, around 55 metres above the Macleay River.
“Council has identified an alternative route, part of which goes through private property and uses old fire trail. We are working through the legal and environmental approvals as fast as possible to be able to construct a gravel access road, but this will take five to six weeks. This road would become the access option for 12 months to two years and we heard very clearly yesterday that access for trucks to move cattle, fodder and fuel are required but at this stage we can’t guarantee that the alternative access road will be suitable.”
“We will continue to work through the issues with the affected properties while also starting investigations on the viability of longer-term multimillion-dollar solutions, that may involve repairing the slip or constructing a bridge over the Macleay River.”
The landslip occurred as a result of the recent storm and flooding event and Council will be making claims to Transport for NSW under the Natural Disaster Declaration to fund the short term and longer term works required at Toose Road.