Denton Avenue residents left in the dark

By Tate Papworth

Residents of Denton Avenue say years of silence, followed by the drip feeding of information, has only raised concerns about what lies beneath their homes.

Jannet Batty and her partner purchased their property 39 years ago and say they had no idea what they’d purchased on top of.

“We knew there was a tip in Hulett street, but that was all we knew of it,” Jannet said.

“Then one day in about 2011 or 2012 we got a knock on the door from a man who asked if could test soil in the backyard and some places inside the house.

“He didn’t tell us what they were testing for, but proceeded to test under the sinks and stove before leaving.”

She said what followed was eight years of silence until the same man knocked on the door three weeks ago and said their home of nearly four decades stood on the site of the former Sunshine landfills and methane gas had been detected at the property.

“He asked how I felt and I told him they were 39 years too late telling me.

“They found methane gas in our house, but never gave us any report or told us.

“They said the methane gas levels are going down, but how do they know, they’ve never come back and tested the house.”

Fearing her family had been exposed to dangerous levels of the toxic gas, Jannet’s daughter Brooke asked if prolonged exposure could have detrimental health impacts.

“The response was, that if the readings were that bad then the house would’ve exploded or we would’ve suffocated,” Brooke said.

“Basically they said because we lived and the house is still standing, it’s all good.

“But if it can suffocate you, surely it can cause other health issues.”

It’s more information than fellow resident Jenny Seda said she received.

“I’m 33, I’ve lived in this house my whole life,” Ms Seda said.

“It was originally my parents, but they’ve since passed away.

“The house was left to me, but mum had a caveat on it, so while I have power of attorney, I don’t have my name on the title.”

It meant that Ms Seda was left with next to no information and a lot of questions.

“I had absolutely no idea about any of this until two guys knocked on the door the other week,” she said.

“They were here for all of two minutes and wouldn’t give me any information because my name isn’t on the title.

“They left me with nothing and they didn’t answer my questions … they just kept saying that there’s nothing to worry about and it’s safe.

“Low risk doesn’t mean no risk and, further to that, I’m sure the risks were much higher going back 30 years.”