Purakaunui slip repair likely to take 'months'

By John Lewis

Purakaunui crib owner Ainslie Idler and her dog Beau venture past a major slip on Bay Rd. Photo / Linda Robertson
Purakaunui crib owner Ainslie Idler and her dog Beau venture past a major slip on Bay Rd. Photo / Linda Robertson

Frustration is rising among Purakaunui residents over the time it is taking the Dunedin City Council to repair damage caused by recent record rainfall.

Yesterday was a month to the day since Dunedin recorded 89mm of rain in 24 hours - the wettest July day on record.

The heavy rain caused extensive flooding in many parts of the city, and several roads in and around Purakaunui, northeast of Dunedin, were damaged by slips.

Bay Rd was particularly hard hit - part of the road on the waterfront gave way, slid down a bank and wiped out two boat sheds below.

Since then, the road has remained closed to non-residents.

Adding to the frustration, council said yesterday it might be months before the damage was repaired.

Bay Rd crib owner Ainslie Idler said she felt "neglected'' by the council.

"I just think we pay rates like everybody else and we get very little for it.

"The least they could do is keep our roads going. It's pretty shocking.''

She and other residents had serious concerns about the stability of what was left of the road.

"Every time you go over it, you think `is it going to fall today'? And every time it rains, you wonder if it will still be there tomorrow.''

Fellow landowner Robert Todd agreed.

He spent up to four nights a week there in his motorhome while he worked on his crib.

"I'm not really game to take [the motorhome] out there while the road is like that, because it weighs about 3.5 tonne and they're quite wide in the wheelbase.

"I'm frustrated at the length of time it's taken to do anything about it.''

Permanent resident Sam Kerstens said the roading situation was ``inconvenient'' but he understood the council's point of view.

It was a matter of prioritising more populated areas, he said.

"We're out of the way, far away, and there's not many people living here.''

But Mrs Idler said the road was not only used by residents and crib owners.

There was a very popular boat ramp on the road used by recreational fishers and the road also led to a car park area used by surfers to gain access to the breakers at Potato Point.

DCC transport group manager Richard Saunders said he appreciated there was some "nervousness'' about how the slips would react in more rain, but he assured residents the council was keeping an eye on them.

He said about 200 slip sites were reported across the transport network during the flood.

To date, about $1.5million had been spent on repairs and most had been completed.

However, the Bay Rd slip was one of about 25 still being investigated by geotechnical consultants.

"While they are under assessment, we are still actively monitoring them.

"We've got a huge amount of work to get through after that recent flood, and unfortunately we can't do it all at once.

"And we also need to take the time to get the assessments done, and make sure the fix we do is the correct work.

"At this time, there is no timeframe for any of those slip repairs. The timeframe will be in the months, not weeks.''

As of yesterday, the council had six dangerous building notices and five dangerous land notices listed.

It would not disclose their locations.

- Otago Daily Times

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