Land­slip prone cliff top homes


Mo­ments af­ter Ben Dellabarca’s two dogs had passed be­neath it, a 10-me­tre cliff col­lapsed onto Auck­land’s Eastern Beach on Sun­day, Au­gust 20.

He and his flat­mate were walk­ing his dogs along Eastern Beach around mid­day when the pair no­ticed rocks com­ing off the rock face.

Sud­denly a mas­sive hunk of dirt, de­bris, trees and what seemed to be a re­tain­ing wall fell away, crash­ing onto the beach be­low and tak­ing a large chunk of a Clovelly Road home’s back­yard with it.

All that was left was a slab of deck­ing hang­ing pre­car­i­ously over the cliff edge.

Paku­ranga lawn­mower Mur­ray Starkey did the lawn­mow­ing for an ad­ja­cent neigh­bour on Clovelly Road and says he’s amazed the Auck­land Coun­cil wasn’t alerted ear­lier.

‘‘I cut the lawn on Au­gust 12 and the cliff-side had al­ready started fall­ing to the sea. Luck­ily no one got killed,’’ he says.

Tonkin and Tay­lor rep­re­sen­ta­tives were also at the cliff site on Mon­day on a pre-planned visit to in­ves­ti­gate the slips on be­half of the Earthquake Com­mis­sion (EQC).

Coun­cil geotech­ni­cal en­gi­neer Ross Roberts says the slip hap­pened in an area of known in­sta­bil­ity.

‘‘Houses built on cliff-tops face unique risks and Clovelly Road has a his­tory of in­sta­bil­ity. This is not the first time part of the cliff face has eroded.’’

He says the coun­cil has in­ves­ti­gated the slip and its im­pact on the res­i­den­tial build­ings di­rectly at the top of the cliff face.

‘‘We have also en­sured the area be­low the slip is made safe for the pub­lic, in­clud­ing putting up sig­nage.

‘‘Nei­ther the prop­erty filmed by a mem­ber of the pub­lic nor two neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties are con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous,’’ Roberts says.

All po­ten­tially af­fected oc­cu­pants and home­own­ers have been in­formed of the slip and are work­ing with EQC, he says.

‘‘Un­less there is fur­ther move­ment that di­rectly af­fects any build­ings, this is a pri­vate mat­ter and will be dealt with by in­di­vid­ual own­ers and EQC.

‘‘The coun­cil will con­tinue its ap­proach to man­ag­ing more than 90 cliff slips on pub­lic land across the re­gion.’’

For more in­for­ma­tion on how to stay safe around slips, visit the Our Auck­land web­site.


The view of the dam­age caused by the sub­si­dence, from the ad­ja­cent neigh­bour’s back­yard.

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