Hundreds of slips wrecking Auckland's coastal walkways and stairs

Damage to Kennedy Park steps in Castor Bay, Auckland, caused by storm.
John Crews

Damage to Kennedy Park steps in Castor Bay, Auckland, caused by storm.

Auckland's storms and heavy rain have caused more than 100 new slips around the coast, with the council facing a huge task cleaning them up.

Auckland Council can't say yet what the repair bill will be, because it has to plan the work, a task made more challenging by the fact more landslides are occurring every week.

"Auckland Council has budget set aside each year for minor storm damage. However, the most recent weather events and subsequent slips that have occurred are being treated as major damage, which will include both operational and capital expenditure," general manager of community facilities Rod Sheridan said.

The land slip along the now restricted Lotus walkway, in Browns Bay where a land slip pulled a large pohutukawa down with it.
ZIZI SPARKS/STUFF

The land slip along the now restricted Lotus walkway, in Browns Bay where a land slip pulled a large pohutukawa down with it.

The council's principal geotechnical specialist, Ross Roberts, said, in the week just past, about five new slips had appeared.

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Roberts said there were several factors that determined which slips were a priority to address.

Access to Lotus coastal walkway in Browns Bay has been cordoned off from the public.
ZIZI SPARKS/STUFF

Access to Lotus coastal walkway in Browns Bay has been cordoned off from the public.

"We take a risk-based approach. We look at what's impacted by it [the slip] and what could be impacted if it gets worse," Roberts said.

"The high priorities for us are the ones where public access has been severely compromised. The higher the risk, the higher the priority."

Roberts said the "ease of reinstatement" also played into the prioritisation process, some could be important to fix but also difficult.

A staircase leading down to Charcoal Bay, in Beach Haven, completely collapsed in a land slip.
STUFF

A staircase leading down to Charcoal Bay, in Beach Haven, completely collapsed in a land slip.

Kennedy Park stairs at a World War II site on Auckland's North Shore were affected by one such slip.

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The stairs, popular with exercisers, were contorted when the land beneath them slipped during torrential rain in April.

"It's a challenging site, and one where putting it back exactly where it was is probably not acceptable," Roberts said. "We don't want to be doing the same thing in three or four years."

The view from the base of the land slip cutting off beach access at the base of Neptune Rd, Beach Haven.
Grant Botting

The view from the base of the land slip cutting off beach access at the base of Neptune Rd, Beach Haven.

The Lotus Track, north of Browns Bay, was also a challenge, because clay had fallen away from beneath the path and the path couldn't be re-aligned closer to the cliff, Roberts said.

He estimated the council was dealing with more than 100 slips across Auckland on public land, with even more on private land. Private slips fell under the control of the Earthquake Commission, he said.

 

 

 - Stuff

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