Moves to stabilise Oakura camp hillside

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 01/09/2012

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Nearly a year after a hillside collapse at Oakura's campground, trees are being planted to stabilise the ground.

An estimated 400 cubic metres of earth gave way in December last year, shunting three cabins, but the sole two occupants escaped without injury.

Council arborist Conrad Pattison said the inability to predict natural events meant they just had to deal with them as they happened.

He said he expected the new trees to stand up to the often wet spring weather. "We've had engineers suggest plant species that are best suited to the job."

Council contractors abseiled from the top of the bank to plant some of the trees higher up.

Julie Baker lived at Oakura Beach Holiday Park for four years and now returns regularly from Auckland to stay in her cabin next to the slip site.

She said the ground used to slide behind her permanent caravan, near the public toilets, and it had also been planted up.

"It's going to strengthen it, I suppose; if it will stop it decaying that will be lovely.

"This whole side would disappear if they didn't do it."

But clifftop homeowner Don Harvey was concerned that if the trees grew too high they might obstruct views. "I can see everyone out in the water from here. There's just one guy out there on a paddleboard at the moment, but if he got into trouble, who's going to rescue him?"

Holiday park operator Jan Rawlinson admitted she wasn't entirely sure what type of trees had been planted yet, but she was positive about the project.

"Something needed to be back up there."

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