Slip traps families
A slip that first blocked the main access to the Kahurangi National Park in late June has virtually trapped three families living on the hill.
Four families live above the massive slip which first closed the Graham Valley South Branch in late June.
The Conservation Department’s Motueka programme manager of visitor assets, Mark Townsend, said that one family had gone to stay at an overseas home.
But the other three affected families were coping as best they could.
‘‘We are doing our best to support them,’’ Mr Townsend said. ‘‘And they are incredibly patient with us. But it is a day-to-day situation.’’
The contractor working to remove the slip had punched a walking track across its face for the residents to use, he said.
Heavy rain has seen the slip continue to grow and it could take another four weeks to shift.
DOC and Tasman District Council last month secured a contractor to remove the rock but hard frosts and heavy rain have caused about 30 per cent more material to shift down the hill.
Mr Townsend said he expected access to Flora car park and Kahurangi National Park would be closed for at least another four weeks, while Dusty Digger contractors moved the mountain of rock and debris.
They had been hampered by bad weather which had continued to bring down crushed schist and quartzite, gravelly clay soils and native vegetation.
But having all the loose material down the hill was a good thing, he said.
Dusty Diggers owner-operator Barry Mogford said that even with the pelting rain his company had had two good days’ production. Each truckload of material held 15 cubic metres of rock and workers had achieved as many as 37 loads a day.
DOC has closed all vehicle and pedestrian access, given the risk of rock fall.