Resident wants action on mud
Bernie and Cheryl Whelan don’t leave things to chance, especially after last week’s severe weather warnings.
With the threat of a hillside behind their Moonraker Pl, Whitby, property likely to ooze onto their backyard again, they extended the height of their rear foundation wall.
They then piled four haybales against the addition to soak up any water or mud they hoped wouldn’t come.
Their caution stems back to November 2016, when the Wellington region was battered by an earthquake and then heavy rainfall.
The quake caused a Porirua City Council reserve above the couple’s property to slump about 80 metres, blocking a culvert, Bernie Whelan said.
A subsequent downpour compounded the issue, sending mud towards the Whelans’ house.
The Earthquake Commission said the Whelans would be reimbursed for part of the cost to remove the mud.
Despite engineers suggesting a catchwall be built, EQC instead would offer a similar amount for the removal of mud and debris in the future.
The Whelans then contacted the council in April to find out what was happening.
‘‘Naturally, we want to mitigate or limit future damage, because next time we might not be so lucky and the slip might hit the house,’’ Whelan said.
‘‘The engineer deemed the slip highly likely to occur in the next 12 months. Porirua City Council consultants predicted a similar outcome in the future in a report earlier this year.’’
With last week’s wintry blast, the Whelans became increasingly anxious when they hadn’t heard from the council about further mitigation work on the reserve.
‘‘We were told late last year or earlier this year, that the reserve was still too wet to do any work and they had to leave it to dry out,’’ Bernie Whelan said.
‘‘It would be something like June before it became dry enough. So, I contacted them in May asking if we were going to see some action but heard nothing.
‘‘We’re just basically nervous, so we’re just doing our own mitigation. All that mud that came on to our place was the council’s.’’
Chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said the council contacted the residents of 12 and 14 Moonraker Pl early last week.
She said Wellington Water had cleared the stormwater intake above the property last month.
‘‘We are now in the process of repositioning the stormwater intake with a new and larger intake that will be easy to access for future maintenance.
‘‘Early after the [November] event, it was expected that the work would be completed by the end of July. However, as we became aware of the volume of impacted infrastructure and properties we had to and continue to prioritise the programme of works. The safety of people is the first priority.
‘‘We have arranged for an engineer to assess the drainage at the track along the top of the scarp to determine if it is contributing to the failure of the slope.’’
Whitby resident Bernie Whelan has reinforced his foundation wall in case a mudslide threatens his property like it did last year.