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Sinkholes appear as claims Toogoom wall 'built on lies'

Norm Hoffman shows the used rock is cracking and splitting and will eventually end up as rubble.
Norm Hoffman shows the used rock is cracking and splitting and will eventually end up as rubble. Alistair Brightman

AN INVESTIGATION has begun into the stability and safety of the Toogoom rock wall by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).

In a letter seen by the Chronicle, EHP advised an engineer's report provided by the Fraser Coast Regional Council did not meet conditions, and was provided more than three months after work was completed.

After concerns were raised by Toogoom resident Norm Hoffman, EHP conducted an inspection of the wall with the results currently under review.

The $1.1 million seawall was built to protect 18 properties on Kingfisher Pde in Toogoom from erosion with homeowners paying through a special council loan.

Mr Hoffman has studied the wall's approvals and construction since the work began on the Toogoom beach in November 2013.

He said the wall was never built to standard and now the rocks are breaking down.

He tried unsuccessfully to get answers from the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

"There are more lies in this wall than rocks," Mr Hoffman said.

"Council keep saying the wall is fine.

"The mayor says the matter is closed."

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell refuted Mr Hoffman's comments.

"After nearly two years council's worked with about half-a-dozen State Government agencies who have granted approval or signed off on this project," he said.

"We are constantly monitoring the progress and the integrity of the project.

"I would consider this matter has well and truly been dealt with."

Mr Hoffman said the rocks on the wall were now breaking up, and the council has told him they are supposed to.

He questioned: "why would you build something that's designed to break?"

The state of the wall is as a result of a poor build with design not being followed, Mr Hoffman claims.

Through a Right to Information request Mr Hoffman asked the council for the wall's batter-slope design.

He claims it was not built at the required 55 degree angle and after asking the council for the plans, they responded with hand-drawn alterations to the original design.

"The geo tech fabric was not laid in accordance with the design - it is an integral part of that wall," Mr Hoffman said.

"There has been and still is sinkholes appearing behind the wall."

The Toogoom resident claims the council must act on the wall before the warranty expires on November 10 or ratepayers might be liable for any repair costs.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council did not answer the Chronicle's questions about the wall's integrity, responding with a single sentence.

"Council has discussed these items at length in the media and with residents and does not believe it has anything more to add to the public discussion," a council spokesman wrote.

The closed-door response has left Mr Hoffman frustrated.

Prior to the wall build being approved a report from Cardno identified "a new seawall of approx 410m length eastward from the location of the beach access point" was "not permissible".

Instead it was recommended "as an interim measure to halt erosion, place sand filled geotextile bags on Toogoom beach".

Mr Hoffman has called on the State Government to intervene.

Topics:  department of environment and heritage protection fraser coast regional counci toogoom



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