RESIDENTS who live in the Monte Roche townhouse complex in Winchester Hills are concerned about the retaining wall built by the development owners of 376 on Devereaux, which backs onto their property.
However, the developer and a technical engineer say the wall is quite stable.
“I live in Monte Roche, just below part of the retaining wall, and quite frankly I’m petrified it will collapse, causing damage to my home or injury to myself. I know engineers came out to check the wall, but I have no idea of what the outcome of the meeting was,” said Wendy Fahrenhorst.
“Apart from this, the wall is full of unsightly weeds, but as far as I know it was supposed to have been planted with indigenous vegetation, and this certainly isn’t the case! It looks a real eyesore and I don’t see why we have to put up with the mess,” said Fahrenhorst.
Chairperson of Monte Roche, Koti Wilsnach, added, “I think the wall seems unstable and is a concern to us. We would like an engineer’s report from the developers to prove to us that this wall is stable and not a safety risk.
“Weed killer has been used on some of the overhanging weeds at the very top, so now we are left to look at dead weeds. There’s also a problem with run-off water, which has been diverted after leaving an unsightly, muddy mess in our driveway after it rained.”
As phase three of the development of 376 on Devereux is being built, pipes are overhanging the driveway gardens of Monte Roche.
“I’m quite sure the developer will think we are being petty, but enough is enough. We have to live here and pay our levies and see the mess every day,” added Wilsnach.
The CHRONICLE contacted Howard Matheson from Sinai Developments and DHP Construction about the retaining wall. He said, “The wall has been inspected by the engineer and nothing was found to be of concern. The engineer also carries insurance and signs off, so if there was an issue it can be repaired. The pipes are to allow run-off of water and it’s perfectly legal as all lower ground needs to accept water from the higher ground. Before summer the wall will be cleaned up of weeds and succulents will be planted.”
PR technical engineer Silvio Ferraris was also contacted. He said, “The wall was designed and constructed as a mechanically stabilised fill, and the retaining blocks are a facing only, using high-strength geogrids that create a monolithically bound structure, a similar concept to how reinforcing steel is used in concrete, that is, the geogrids in combination with the wall compacted fill are doing the retaining.
“In layman’s terms, the retaining structure is one massive stabilised block, to a horizontal depth equal to 70 per cent of the wall height, and is very stable.
“The reason there are some cracked blocks was mainly due to a leak in the sewer system deep down at the corner units. The subsequent saturation of the soil fill resulted in some settlement. This did cause some blocks to crack and the buildings’ foundations had to be underpinned onto the lower-lying bedrock, with mini piles.
“This is all stable now, and I have re-inspected the blocks. There have been no further cracked blocks continuing to appear. I would recommend that once the weeds on the wall are cleared, the voids above and below the cracked blocks be caulked/filled with concrete, and once indigenous plants grow between the other wall voids, they will eventually cover a big portion of the wall facing.”
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