Res­i­dent wants ac­tion on mud

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

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.’’

JAMES PAUL/STUFF

Whitby res­i­dent Bernie Whe­lan has re­in­forced his foun­da­tion wall in case a mud­slide threat­ens his prop­erty like it did last year.

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