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Likas slope: City Hall to implement protection measures
Published on: Thursday, September 07, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Likas slope: City Hall to implement protection measures
City Hall staff taking note of the condition of the canvas sheets placed on the slope.
CITY Hall plans to implement protection measures on a Likas slope to arrest the destabilisation which has been taking place over the past few years.

More and more of the hillside has been giving way since 2021, causing those living beside the incline to fear for the safety of their homes and loved ones.

Two such rate-payers were uneasy about the rocks and trees from the slope, which occasionally fell into their backyards on Lorong Cenderawasih. 

These goings-on did not bode well for either of them. Both homeowners expressed their misgivings about the possibility of a landslide occurring in this part of Taman Moonee. 

Large rocks, like the one seen lying in the backyard of this residence, occasionally roll down the hillside.

Their concerns are not unwarranted. Two people were killed in 2021 when a Penampang slope gave way during a rather heavy downpour in the third quarter of that year.

The Likas rate-payers hoped the local authorities would be more proactive about shoring up the hillside and not wait for history to repeat itself before stepping in to act.

One of the homeowners had earlier sought the Public Works Department (PWD)’s help to appraise the condition of the hillside.

The individual provided Hotline with a copy of the report he received from the PWD which confirmed that the risk of slope-failure occurring, when it rained heavily, was “high”. 

The senior officer with the Department’s “Cawangan Cerun (Slope Branch)”, who signed the report, goes on to say that – eventhough the area which was likely to destabilise lay outside the compound of the home – the overall landslide made the residence “tidak selamat di duduki (unfit to be occupied)”.

He attributed the danger to the reduced “soil shear strength” during a downpour.

Some of the canvas sheets on the hillside have become worn down due to wear and tear over time.

“The rainfall raises the moisture content in the soil which in turn increases the load on the surface of the slope,” he stated.

“This has an impact on the stability of the slope, giving rise to the failure or movement of the earth on the hillside.” 

A spokesman for City Hall’s Engineering Department said it intended to have a retaining wall built, with cut-off drains put in place on the incline, as part of the mitigation effort in Taman Moonee. 

“Soil nails and a metal scaffolding will be embedded in the slope to hold the new wall in place,” he said. 

“The greenery on the hillside will be cleared before the actual protection work gets underway.”

He said this would effectively do away with the risk of the trees toppling onto the houses at the bottom of the slope.

“We secured an allocation from the government, with the help of a ‘YB’, to carry out the slope-protection.

“This politician personally went to have a look at the hillside at the back of Lorong Cenderawasih, together with one of our personnel, last month.” 

The spokesman said the agency was presently waiting to receive “the warrant” so that the funds could be released. 

He said the protection efforts were due to get underway “within the next few months”.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, and so long as good weather prevails, this work should tentatively be completed by the end of 2023.

“In the meantime, our staff have stepped up their surveillance of the hillside.”  They observed that canvas sheets had been placed over those parts of the slope which had destabilised, according to him.

This tree fell into this backyard in July, after the trunk snapped during the strong winds and heavy rains at the time.

“Some of these geo-synthetic covers were torn. Now that slope protection strategies are about to be implemented, there is no need for us to have the damaged ones replaced.” 

When asked why it had taken more than two years to enact this protection, the spokesman explained that the land beyond the homeowners’ backyard fence was initially a point of contention for City Hall.

The overgrown greenery on the slope looms over the compound of this home in Taman Moonee.

“At first, we were uncertain about the status of the hillside. Our peers in the relevant department were enlisted to determine if we could enact mitigation work on this property.

“They, later, confirmed that we could access this land.”

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