Residents near a newly-formed slip in an Auckland carpark say they are disappointed it took so long to be taken seriously.

The back half of Birkenhead’s public Rawene Car Park slipped down a gorge on Sunday night and has continued to slip since.

Claire Balfour, the chairwoman of the body corporate of the nearby Mokoia Apartments, said residents were concerned about the significant drop in the car park when it first appeared almost three weeks ago but it seemed impossible to get the full attention of council or Auckland Transport.

From a crack to a landslide

She said the asphalt had originally been poured onto unstable land without a retaining wall and was “an accident waiting to happen”.

While the residents now have an AT liaison, Balfour said they felt they hadn’t been paid much attention till the slip occurred.

“We’re disappointed it’s taken so long, we had to be persistent,” she said.

“We’re just trying to get some assurance that when [the apartments] were built, the people did their jobs properly and built on good foundations.”

Brett Norris, a worker in nearby Rawene Chambers, agreed with Balfours’ remarks and said the selling point for his business was the large car park next door.

But now, from a Birkenhead trading perspective, there were 40 fewer car parks.

We aren’t going to get those back,” Norris said.

Other locals have shared their upset and concern regarding the economic impact Rawene car park’s issues have had on local businesses.

Auckland Transport has defended its management of the gaping hole that has appeared where a north Auckland carpark used to be.

AT’s Chief Infrastructure Officer Greg Edmonds said the Rawene car park in Auckland’s Birkenhead had washed away into the gorge below it following the “pretty significant rains” over the last 12 months.

Edmonds said AT had been monitoring the site for 12 months and it took appropriate action whe the crack appeared, closing part of the carpark and fencing it of for public safety.

He again rejected that vibrations from a near-by development may have played a part saying the “initial view” was that it was more due to the fact it was built in the 1960s on “uncontrolled fill”.

He said the slip was a natural process and the only thing to do was wait and see where the slipping would end and where the solid ground was.

The rear section of the car park was cordoned off by Auckland Transport for safety reasons on September 20, following the subsidence of an already-existing crack.

Now, parts of that cordon lay in the ditch below the car park, alongside large slabs of tarmac with the white car park lines still visible on them.

Local workers who have been observing the situation say it was “ludicrous” that drilling that “shook” nearby buildings, would not cause issues with the car park.

Birkenhead worker Brett Norris said he had been in Birkenhead for 30 years.

“I knew if there was significant shaking it would compromise it [the car park],” he said.

Locla MP Jonathan Coleman said the slip was “a major local issue which is of extreme concern to local residents and businesses”.

He said there needed to be a “medium to long term solution so business is not affected”.

Coleman said he was organising a meeting on Wednesday for AT to inform residents and businesses of what was going on.

Optometrist Tony Craddock asked: “But what happens now? Are we going to have a massive hole in Birkenhead?”

Geotech engineer Bryce Schou said that in principle, it was possible to remediate the area and a slip of that size.

“I can’t speak for Birkenhead specifically, but there are various ways and means to combat what made the slip in the first place, and carry out work to put things right,” Schou said.

However it would come down to a case of costs versus benefits, he said.

AT said in a media release on Tuesday that parking has been restricted in Rawene Rd car park in Birkenhead.

It said the car park had slipped away after heavy rain over recent months.

AT says it was actively monitoring the slip and it has had an engineering geologist on site.

There was no immediate danger but a large area of the car park had been cordoned off. Members of the public must not enter the cordoned off area, AT said.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 10 October 2017 The North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz