North Shore residents square off with Auckland Transport after car park slips away
Around 100 angry business owners and residents have squared off with Auckland Transport after 46 car park spaces were lost to a large slip on the North Shore.
Small business owners say they are losing two-thirds of their custom after the spaces vanished when a large section of the Rawene Rd car park fell away into a gully in Birkenhead.
However, Auckland Transport says 46 spaces is "not a large a amount".
Speaking to about 100 angry residents and business owners on Wednesday morning, AT's group manager of parking services, John Strawbridge, said while the loss wasn't large it would take "some time for a solution to be implemented".
* Part of public car park on Auckland's North Shore slips away
* Large crack heats up dispute between workers and Auckland Transport
* Subsidence in Auckland car park worsens as nearby construction continues
* Cracks under a north Auckland carpark first noticed in August
Strawbridge said time restrictions in the remaining car parks would be removed.
Speaking on behalf of small businesses in the area, one man said the lack of parking was affecting business owners.
"We are not getting a fair go in Birkenhead," he said at the meeting, which was organised by local MP Jonathan Coleman.
Residents also had concerns about a proposed town centre upgrade which was going out to tender, and wanted that stalled until the car parking situation was resolved.
Strawbridge said fixing the problem would cost "millions and millions of dollars".
The tarmac has been falling away since the weekend, following a crack that developed in the tar seal three weeks ago.
AT's chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds also spoke at the meeting and said AT had not anticipated the slip but such an event was "not uncommon".
"The only thing that's uncommon is that it's happened where everyone can see it."
Edmonds said the next few days would be crucial. Healthy water and stormwater teams from council had diverted all water away from the slip and geotechnical investigations were continuing.
He said geotechnical engineers on site were making recommendations as they go.
Edmonds dodged questions of what caused the slip saying council had to answer that.
"Let's not speculate on what the cause is."
But residents in the room were still looking for accountability. Those living in Mokoia Ridge, which borders the Rawene Reserve, still had concerns for safety.
Initial geotechnical investigations of the slip reveal it was unlikely anything could have stopped the slip.
Auckland Council's geotechnical and geological practice lead Ross Roberts said given the scale of slip, it was unlikely that any reasonable intervention by AT could have prevented the event.
The landslip seems to have slowed down, he said, and there was no immediate danger to danger to surrounding buildings.
He said it was unlikely that adjacent construction work contributed to the landslide.
"The car park was built on old, possibly not very well compacted fill.
"This, combined with the unusually wet season, is most likely to be the cause. We will be investigating over the coming weeks to try and identify if there were any other influences on the slope."
In response to future restoration he said, "anything is possible," but the cost of a full restoration is likely to be extremely high and it would remain to be seen if the costs were justified.