Geographe residents 'fed up' with dust

Geographe residents Peter Clifford, John Pirrit and Dale McCamish are fed up with sand blowing into their properties from a neighbouring development.
Geographe residents Peter Clifford, John Pirrit and Dale McCamish are fed up with sand blowing into their properties from a neighbouring development.

A group of Geographe residents are “fed up” with the dust that has been blowing into their properties and covering the exterior and interior of their houses and cars.

The dust has blown from a stockpile of sand at a development which backs onto Layman Road and established properties, with the cloud so thick on some days neighbours said they could not see across the street.

Peter Clifford said he had his house cleaned on five occasions by the developer, but it had been only a matter of days before his home was covered in dust again.

“We cannot entertain or have people around,” he said.

“We shifted our Christmas away because we could not have our family around.

“It just gets you down. I do not see why we should have to put up with this. It is very demoralising. It has been a constant battle.”

The developer Aigle Royal senior project manager Jim Karakatsanakis said it was essential that stockpiles of sand, each up to five metres tall, were on site for between three months and six months.

Mr Karakatsanakis said existing homes were in close proximity to the site and strong winds were frequent in the area, which resulted in some sand drift.

“The sand drift has occurred despite the precautions and dust management plans we (and the contractors) have in place being best practice,” he said.

”During construction, our contractor has a water cart on site to repeatedly wet the ground, which makes the sand too heavy to blow away.

“As sections of the work area are completed, it is immediately covered with a layer of hydro-mulch to stabilise the sand. At completion of the works, the whole site is hydro-mulched again.”

Mr Karakatsanakis also said the company was trying different types of mulch to see if one had a superior bind, which would respond better when the wind was strong.

”Cleaning crews have also been sent around to affected residents by Aigle Royal’s earthworks contractor and then again by Aigle Royal itself.

“The lack of available cleaners in Busselton has made this process more challenging than we initially anticipated, but has now been resolved.”

Mr Karakatsanakis said the current works were expected to be completed in April.

“The ground improvement works for the remainder of the site will be ongoing for the next few years. The large stockpiles will be relocated several times more, each time heading further East,” he said.

John Pirrit, who lives in the neighbourhood, was trying to sell his home but a potential buyer withdrew from the process because of the dust.

“We are back to square one,” he said. “The people loved the house and wanted it.”

Resident Dale McCamish said he understood that weather could cause problems, but not enough was being done to prevent sand from blowing on to nearby properties.

Deb Robis said the dirt which had covered her home and the cars in her garage was “unbelievable” and she hoped that the developer would send a proper cleaner once a month.

“I would be happy with that if they came in and did a complete clean, because I am doing it everyday and its not just the outside, it’s inside as well.”