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Two years, $25m to repair landslide road

Black Mountain resident Amy Langley’s family and small business, Noosa Country Cat Hotel, continues to be impacted by the landslide.

By Abbey Cannan

The landslide on Black Mountain Road is the biggest experienced on the Sunshine Coast in 30 years with initial reconstruction cost estimates between $25 and $30 million.

Geotechnical assessments have revealed the damage to be quite extensive with no easy fix.

Council expects the repairs to take about two years, flagging a possible completion date of mid-2024.

“The experts tell us that much of the damage is below the surface and restoring the area is quite complex,” infrastructure services director Larry Sengstock said.

Residents were given an update at a specially agreed information session at Black Mountain Road last Saturday.

Black Mountain resident and Noosa Country Cat Hotel owner Amy Langley said the impact on the community was immense.

“I think we’ve all come back a little bit shell-shocked at the timeframe, considering we were initially told six months,” she said.

“I can now completely understand the timeframe after speaking with the engineer about why it’s going to take so long. My frustrations are not about the speed in which it is happening, as I have some depth of knowledge on the process.

“We’re not angry at Council, we know everyone is doing what they can. We understand everyone is working really hard.“

Mrs Langley said the community was now thinking of long-term lifestyle changes.

“I think we’re all feeling a little bit deflated,” she said.

“I’m suffering. This has been a pretty hard blow to us as a family with a small business.

“I’ve already sent emails looking into changing schools and daycares because we can’t afford the travel.

“If we were to sell our property, we’d be fearful that prices would have depreciated because of the landslide.

“Our property values ​​would have decreased significantly because who would want to move to this side of the landslide.

“So, we feel that even if we were to sell, we wouldn’t be able to afford to buy anywhere as lovely to give our kids the same upbringing.”

Mrs Langley said people within the community had become very resilient.

“We love our home and community,” she said.

“No one in the community is feeling ashamed to say they are stressed or struggling, and we can all talk to each other.”

Mr Sengstock said final reconstruction costs would not be known until designs were completed.

“A complex detailed design is required and we will need to engage specialized contractors to carry out the work,” he said.

“It’s difficult for residents to hear, but this is a significant landslide and we need to be as transparent as possible so they understand the complexities involved.”

Mr Sengstock said the project remained a priority for council and all tenders would be fast-tracked.

“We acknowledge that the landslide has closed off the thoroughfare nature of the Black Mountain Road and we are simply unable to provide any by-pass due to the instability of the land,” he said.

“We are working with the community to minimize the disruption by doing significant works on the Anderson Road causeway and regular grading of the road.

“Council is liaising with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority who administer disaster recovery funding on behalf of the State Government and they have been very supportive.”

Major Clare Stewart assured Black Mountain residents they would not be forgotten.

“We have dedicated staff to liaise with local residents and we are providing as much information as we can to keep them informed,” Cr Stewart said.

“The February weather was unprecedented and Council has been moving as quickly as it can to address issues.

“Safety must be paramount and resources are stretched across the entire south-east, so we are facing some real challenges in what can be done.”

Council has produced a video to help explain the complexities of the reconstruction.

A dedicated Black Mountain webpage has been developed to provide detailed information on the landslide.

Council has established a Flood Recovery 2022 section on the website, which provides an overview of the extent of work required to rebuild nearly 100 roads, culverts and deal with 24 landslips.

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