House guests were warned

Eastern Courier - - FRONT PAGE - TARANNUM SHAIKH AND IMOGEN NEALE

Airbnb guests stay­ing next to a house whose back­yard has fallen down a cliff say they were told to keep their daugh­ter away from the un­sta­ble edge.

A 10-me­tre cliff col­lapsed onto Auck­land’s East­ern Beach on Sun­day tak­ing most of a Clovelly Road house’s back­yard with it. The own­ers have not been able to be con­tacted.

The Airbnb res­i­dents stay­ing next door said their host had ad­vised them to stay away from the edge.

‘‘They told us to not let our daugh­ter play too close be­cause it’s dan­ger­ous,’’ a woman, who de­clined to be named, said.

A fence borders the edge of the cliff with a ‘‘Dan­ger’’ sign at the gate. Be­yond the gate, fallen trees can be seen lin­ing the coast­line.

But the fam­ily aren’t wor­ried about liv­ing there.

‘‘We’re only here for three months. If we owned the place then yes, we’d def­i­nitely wor­ried,’’ the woman said.

Ben Dellabarca and his flat mate were walk­ing his dogs long East­ern Beach around midday on Sun­day when the pair no­ticed rocks com­ing off the rock face.

All of a sud­den a mas­sive hunk of dirt, de­bris, trees and what seemed to be a re­tain­ing wall fell away, crash­ing onto the beach be­low. All that was left was a slab of deck­ing hang­ing pre­car­i­ously over the cliff edge.

‘‘The dogs were un­der it only a be minute before it fell,’’ Dellabarca said.

A slab of deck­ing sur­vived, hang­ing pre­car­i­ously at the top of the cliff with noth­ing be­neath it.

Dellabarca, who cap­tured the mo­ment the cliff col­lapsed on video, es­ti­mated it to be about 10-15 me­tres tall.

He said he tried con­tact­ing the own­ers of the house above but they weren’t home.

Geotech­ni­cal en­gi­neer for the Auck­land Coun­cil, Ross Roberts, said the slip hap­pened in an area of known in­sta­bil­ity.

On Mon­day morn­ing, Auck­land coun­cil­lors for How­ick, Sharon Ste­wart and Dick Quax, first in­spected the dam­age from the beach be­low the slip.

Clovelly Road res­i­dent and for­mer How­ick Lo­cal Board mem­ber Steve Udy says liv­ing on a cliff is bound to have its con­se­quences.

‘‘Cliffs are un­sta­ble all over Auck­land.

‘‘A cer­tain de­gree of cau­tion needs to be taken when build­ing near cliffs,’’ he says.

CHRIS MCKEEN / STUFF

A sig­ni­if­cant land­slip claimed the bal­cony on one Clovelly Road cliff-side prop­erty and left back­yards in neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties tee­ter­ing above East­ern Beach on Sun­day.

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