Omokoroa home teetering on the edge

A large slip is endangering an Omokoroa resident's home. Photos: Tracy Hardy.

An Omokoroa resident is packing up his home and moving out after a slip severely damaged his McDonnell Street property overnight.

A massive section of the resident's property is in the ocean due to a slip caused by ex-cyclone Debbie, which smashed the Bay of Plenty and much of the North Island on Wednesday.

The man, who's asked not to be named, has lived at the property overlooking the Tauranga Harbour for the past 24 years.

He explains his backyard is split into two levels, and it's the lower which is now in the ocean.

“About midnight I looked out and thought I could see a lot more water, so I got the torch out and had a look. The bank had gone to our fence line and part of our fence had gone with it.

“Then at 5am I got up and the slip had moved further up towards the house again. It's undermined the retaining wall and I've got a garden shed sitting on a 45 degree angle pointing down the bank.”

His property also backed onto a Western Bay of Plenty District Council reserve which has been completely destroyed.

“We've had inspectors from the council investigating because we had sewerage and storm water drains running through the back of our property which have all been broken off and taken down. It's not good.”

The particular area of Omokoroa where the local lives has been affected by slips in the past.

In 2011, a slip estimated at the time by a local to have been about 30 metres high and 200 metres wide came down on Bramley Drive, further up from McDonnell Street, following torrential rain in the area.

Around the same time, the local's property was also hit by a small slip, but says only a small piece of his section fell away and he “wasn't overly concerned by it”.

“We've never had anything since, and all of this has happened completely overnight. No warning, no indications, no ground breaking away or cracks appearing or anything else, just ‘boom', there, done.”

Unfortunately, the man doesn't believe this cloud has a silver lining and is expecting his property to be deemed uninhabitable and condemned.

He's since called his insurance company and ECQ, and has also organised a moving company “to get me out of here today”.

“If we get any more rain in the next few days we're going to lose more of the upper section. It's not safe to live here, as simple as that.

“I'm just glad no one was hurt.” 

 The slip from another angle. Supplied photos. 

The McDonnell Street slip was one of a five which occurred in Omokoroa overnight, which incudes the slip at Bramley Drive on Wednesday afternoon.

A Western Bay of Plenty District Council spokesperson says the most significant slip occurred on McDonnell Street and has affected two properites.

“The sewer line has broken and both properties have lost access to wastewater services. Council staff are discussing self-evacuation with the property owners until these services can be restored.

“Geotechnical engineers are assessing the site this morning.”

Further slips have also been reported at Hamurana Road, Ruamoana Place and near Crapp Reserve.

“These are understood to not be severe and staff will be fully assessing today. One resident has self-evacuated.

“The Omokoroa Walkway is also being fenced off until staff can properly assess the area.”

Yesterday afternoon's slip at Bramley Drive is not in the same location as the major slip on Bramley Drive in 2011, adds the spokesperson. 



Sadly not just Omokoroa

Posted on 08-04-2017 13:02 | By Papamoaner

It's happening everywhere. Kapiti will be next. Wairarapa south cost has recently lost houses. The only way to diminish the effect of climate change is TREES, TREES, TREES . Trees absorb huge amounts of CO2, but we continue to cut them down. As a species, we are very slow learners.

Slips will become the norm

Posted on 07-04-2017 23:17 | By stokey

Unfortunately slips will become the norm in Omokoroa given the Councils lust for rates and the unimpeded development of the Peninsular. The developers are denuding massive tracts of land, scouring it of all vegetation, uprooting all the trees and re scoping the natural landscape. All the developers can see is a cash cow irrespective of the consequencies for the future. But eh, who cares, they will make their money and move on. Nature will win in the end, particularly given global warming. These developments in Omokoroa will make the leaky building fiasco seem insignificant by comparison.

After Roadkill

Posted on 06-04-2017 16:21 | By Papamoaner

Trees also absorb huge amounts of CO2 which can reduce the number and severity of these storms. It's all part of climate change and global warming. Unfortunately, the behaviour of some countries has an effect on all countries. Felling Amazon timber on a huge scale. Same in Asia, partly to produce stupid bloody palm oil. But it's never a good idea to locate a house near an edge unless it's solid bedrock.

Omokoroa History

Posted on 06-04-2017 15:14 | By doff

I feel so sad for those affected in this most recent slip and there was a similar occurrence in the late 1970s when several homes went down the bank , again after prolonged heavy rain. The 2011 event was not as bad but are people warned about the instability of that area of the peninsula?

Not enough trees?

Posted on 06-04-2017 12:54 | By Roadkill

Most likely the reason, so nothing to hold the bank together and nothing to soak up he water, the bonus would also be that climate change would lose its momentum. Add to that of course that the view would be a bit less as trees in the way, cant have that now can we?

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