A WATTLEUP family say they’ve been fighting a 15-year battle against Cockburn council to stop storm water flooding their property.
Joe Mirosevich lives on semi-rural Collis Road with his daughter Jakie and says that every time there’s a downpour, a river of muddy water flows through their garage and floods the back of their property to half-a-metre. Along the way, their garden beds get ruined.
“We’ve been here since 1970 and the first 20 years were ok,” Mr Mirosevich told the Herald.
Ditches along the edge of the road stopped most of the rain, but when some neighbours started building up verges and the council stopped maintaining the ditches, their troubles started.
Ms Mirosevich says as well as the flooding, their yard and garage gets covered by a thick layer of silt which they have to clean after every big downpour.
“My 75-year-old father is expected to regularly clean up a perfectly preventable mess, a mess that only started to exist less than 20 years ago,” Ms Mirosevich says.
“Once upon a time regular sumps would be dug into the frontage of every property in this street to catch the water runoff down the hills.”
Ms Mirosevich says the problem is leading to piles of sand building up along the length of the road (which the Herald noted while visiting) and that’s creating a hazard for drivers, particularly given there’s no street lighting.
The council’s acting chief engineer Anton Lees acknowledges most water is coming off the council-controlled road, but some is coming from adjacent properties as well.
“The City of Cockburn is currently investigating a storm water storage solution within the road reserve to resolve the flooding,” he told the Herald.
It had previously offered to lease an area of the Mirosevich’s property to create a large sump, but Mr Mirosevich says it didn’t offer enough cash.
The council wanted more than 600sqm and had offered $3000 a year in rent, which Mr Lees said was guided by a licensed valuer and had only been indicative.
Ms Mirosevich says the issue is indicative of what she believes is the council’s neglect of the suburb because of uncertainty about its future. It’s been identified by the WAPC as a potential industrial site.
“We pay rates like everyone else and we get significantly less services here than every other part of Cockburn,” Ms Mirosevich thundered. She reckons the council is biding its time before handballing the area off to another authority.
But Mr Lees says that’s not true: “The suburb of Wattleup is within the City of Cockburn, and it is not expected to be transferred to any other local authority now that local government reform has been withdrawn.
The land adjacent Collis Road is zoned rural and there has been no consideration for re-zoning by the city at this time.”
by STEVE GRANT