When is a sinkhole not a sinkhole?

Sinkhole or scouring of the land?
David Cunliffe/SUPPLIED

Sinkhole or scouring of the land?

When is a sinkhole not a sinkhole? When Auckland Council says it is a "scouring of the land".

On March 12, floodwaters swept across Auckland - causing a section of footpath in front of a west Auckland shopping centre to cave in.

Chair of the Whau Local Board Tracy Mulholland said, just like everyone else, the board wants to know why the Auckland suburb of New Lynn was affected so severely.

Jaison Chacko at the back of the west Auckland building where his shop is located.
MAHVASH ALI/FAIRFAX NZ

Jaison Chacko at the back of the west Auckland building where his shop is located.

She said it would take at least another 48 hours before council would be able to give a clearer picture of what happened, and how the damage may be fixed.

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Mulholland said it was incorrect to call the collapsed section of footpath a sinkhole.

She said Auckland Council had said it was a "scouring of the land".

Auckland’s rainfall
March average
March 2016
Mar 10-12 2016
Mar 10-12 2017

Located within the Clark St culvert, it was an overland flow path that caused the walkway to collapse into a waterway, the council said.

Overland flow paths are routes taken by water when the drainage network can't cope. These flow paths are a vital component of Auckland's drainage and when they are blocked they can cause floods, Auckland Council's website said. 

The culvert was still "significantly blocked" and the torrential rain and floods were beyond its capacity, council said. 

A huge downpour saw floods sweep through west Auckland.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

A huge downpour saw floods sweep through west Auckland.

Seven businesses in the area were issued with a yellow sticker by council and cannot open for business until a second check has been completed. A commercial building on Great North Rd had been found to be dangerous and issued a red sticker. It was possible other buildings may be found to be dangerous, council said.

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Jaison Chacko's shop Signs and Prints was one of the premises that had restricted access due to unsanitary conditions and possible structural damage caused by the weekend deluge.

He signed the lease for his shop on March 1, and had moved his printing equipment and stock to the new premises a day before the floods hit.

Jaison Chacko signed the lease for his New Lynn shop on March 1.
MAHVASH ALI/FAIRFAX NZ

Jaison Chacko signed the lease for his New Lynn shop on March 1.

Chacko said he had planned to call his insurance company on his first working day in the shop.    

But the rain "destroyed everything", he said. There was $45,000 worth of equipment that was beyond repair.

But it was not just businesses that were impacted. 

Dany Madawala's family lost everything they own in the Auckland floods.
MAHVASH ALI/FAIRFAX NZ

Dany Madawala's family lost everything they own in the Auckland floods.

Welfare support was being provided to 28 people who can't go home due to water damage.

Dany Madawala, a tenant in a property on 4114 Great North Rd, said all his belongings had been destroyed in the floods. 

He was one of 18 residents who were evacuated from a block of units located within another culvert, the Cartwright Rd culvert. 

He had relocated his young family to a motel where they will stay until March 17, he said.

Madawala said his two-year-old son was upset when they went back to see their home.

"He kept looking at me and said nothing."

The family estimated they would need to spend at least $1000 on clothes, shoes, socks and underwear immediately.

He said he had been told he was not eligible for support from Work and Income because he was in the country on a work visa.

 - Stuff

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