Scary slip sets off nightmares
‘‘I glanced out of the corner of my eye and thought gosh, that tree's moving, then 10 metres worth of mud and trees came crashing down.’’
A Porirua mother has been suffering nightmares after a devastating landslip threatened to wipe away her family’s property.
Sarah Cotton and her children have gone back into their hillside home above Cluny Rd in Plimmerton, but at least one neighbouring property remains unoccupied since two major slips came down on August 14.
Residents at another have been told to keep out of a section of their garden.
Cotton was just about to pull into her garage at about 7pm on August 14, when she felt the full impact of the landslip slam into her 1996 Honda Odyssey, which the family has always called Hallelujah.
‘‘I was just turning, and I glanced out of the corner of my eye and thought gosh, that tree’s moving, then 10 metres worth of mud and trees came crashing down.’’
There was a bang, and a flash like lightning, as a tree smashed through powerlines.
‘‘The most frightening thing was the sudden movement of the car, then the slamming into a fence.
‘‘Then darkness and the sound of rain on the roof.’’
Her neighbour in a car behind was in shock, staring at the slip. She eventually called emergency services. Cotton did not suffer any serious physical injuries, and Hallelujah was also unscathed, but she has lasting fears about getting in the car and driving past the slip, ‘‘even though Porirua City Council geotech guys say our land is safe’’.
‘‘I’ve had a couple of dreams where I think I’m slipping. I sleep downstairs so I would be the first to go.’’
Her 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, had been home for about five minutes when the ‘‘massive slip next door nearly made our house fall down, and we had to evacuate’’.
‘‘And my mum nearly got squashed by a tree, which fell down by her car while she was in it.’’
Cotton and her three children, along with four-month-old kitten Jazzy, stayed at the children’s father’s house while waiting for council staff to give them the allclear to return.
The council is aware of 48 large slips since the earthquake and flooding last November, which have cost it $3.2 million in capital expenditure and $540,000 in operating expenditure to clean and repair.
In Porirua’s northern suburbs alone, the council is working on repairs to more than 40 large slips. ‘‘We’ve prioritised repairing slips that have immediate impact on people, where they are compromising a property or major road,’’ chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said.
‘‘It will have been distressing for those involved and we are prioritising the work, where possible, so people’s lives can get back to normal.’’