Pleasantville residents: Save our homes from landslip

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Salvia Lane, Pleasantville, resident Ian Small stands in his backyard which is being affected by a landslip. Lincoln Holder

A landslip at Salvia Lane in Pleasantville is threatening several houses, and affected residents want the problem fixed.

They say the land movement is getting worse every day, and is already causing structural damage to their properties. They hope the authorities address the problem in the dry season, saying once the rainy season starts, several homes might collapse.

Ian Small, 72, said he was among 15 people severely affected. His home and those of neighbours six are directly affected.

“Over the years, we have seen small slippage of the land – it was nothing major, But the land started to move fast in May last year. Within three months, my back yard dropped by about eight feet,” Small said. “I lost my stand and tank in July when the land caved in. The neighbour also lost his tank stand. I built a new stand, and now it is being threatened. I had to cut down the mango tree at the back of the yard so it would not fall on the house.”

Salvia Lane, Pleasantville, resident Carol Collins pointS to cracks in her home as a landslip to the back of her property is threatening several homes in the area. – Lincoln Holder

The landslip is near his back door, and his home is on the verge of collapse.

Small said residents had raised the issue with many people in authority, including San Fernando City Corporation, mayor Junia Regrello and councillor Robert Parris. However, he said the problem had worsened and has not been rectified.

“This is a disaster. Every time I watch through the window and see the problem, my pressure rises. I have some minor cracks in the house.

“The councillor is trying his best to help, but this problem is bigger than him. People claim water from another street is undermining the properties.”

As a temporary measure the corporation put tarpaulins over the affected area to prevent rain from falling on the land.

Small’s neighbour Carol Collins, 62, who lives with her 85-year-old mother, began seeing slight land movement about three years ago. She said the problem got worse last year. The retaining wall at the back of her properties began cracking and damaged a concrete drain.

Her house is also on the verge of collapse and sent her washing machine and dryer to a relative’s home for safekeeping. They were at the back of the house, which could collapse at anytime.

“I have been washing clothes in a bucket since last year. I am tired of bending and washing. When I stand to the back of the house, I feel dizzy. It’s really tough for us. We are in a hot mess here,” Collins said.

She recalled that residents met with the mayor last year and an engineer later visited and assessed the landslip.

“The cracks are getting bigger every day.

“Last month, a snake was crawling on the tarpaulin after it fell from a tree. Another neighbour saw one on her property.

“All we want is to fix the problem and save our homes.”

Newsday spoke briefly with Regrello on Monday. He said the matter had been referred to the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Development “for consideration” last year.