Slip-damaged apartments fit to live in again

Residents return one year on from 2011 storm

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 15:27 27/11/2012
waterfront
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

EVACUATED: The Waterfront apartments on Wakefield Quay.

waterfront
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
STABILISED: Work to shore up the cliff face behind The Waterfront apartments in Wakefield Quay after last year’s flooding caused a huge slip is almost complete.

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Residents of The Waterfront apartments on Wakefield Quay aim to start moving back in next month, after work to shore up the cliff behind the building is complete.

Their return home will be a year after the rainstorm that caused the Nelson region's worst natural disaster in decades, when multiple landslides caused millions of dollars of damage across the region.

The Wakefield Quay apartment block was evacuated about 6am on the worst day of the rainstorm on December 15, after a large slip behind the building saw mud and debris pour through the second floor.

The Waterfront body corporate chairman Tony Gowans said work under way behind the apartments was effectively "sealing" the sea cliff to levels that complied with EQC and engineering requirements.

He and his wife, Margaret, had moved into one of the unaffected apartments in the complex, despite the building still being subject to a Section 124 notice of the Building Act.

Mr Gowans said last year's damage was not a result of the cliff failing, but the loose material above it falling down.

"Most of the cubic metres of mud that came down was the material above - it was like an ice skating rink on top of the existing substructure."

Mr Gowans said engineers recommended remedial work involving construction of a shotcrete wall, which is literally concrete "shot" into the cliff surface.

A "catch" wall was being built at the base of the cliff which would collect any material that came off the top of the cliff again.

Mr Gowans declined to say what the project would cost, but apartment owners were required to contribute. He said the engineering work was among the most advanced in the waterfront area.

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