Moments after Ben Dellabarca’s two dogs had passed beneath it, a 10-metre cliff collapsed onto Auckland’s Eastern Beach on August 20.
He and his flatmate were walking his dogs long Eastern Beach around midday on Sunday when the pair noticed rocks coming off the rock face.
Suddenly a massive hunk of dirt, debris, trees and what seemed to be a retaining wall fell away, crashing onto the beach below and taking a large chunk of a Clovelly Road home’s backyard with it.
All that was left was a slab of decking hanging precariously over the cliff edge.
A local Pakuranga man, who declined to be named, has told the Eastern Courier that he did the lawnmowing for an adjacent neighbour on Clovelly Road and says he’s amazed the Auckland Council wasn’t alerted earlier.
“I cut the lawn on August 12 and the cliff-side had already started falling to the sea.
“It took a guy posting a vid to social media with a cell phone before it became public knowledge. Luckily no one got killed,” he says.
Tonkin and Taylor representatives were also at the cliff site on Monday on a pre-planned visit to investigate the slips on behalf of the Earthquake Commission (EQC).
Council geotechnical engineer Ross Roberts says the slip happened in an area of known instability.
“Houses built on cliff-tops face unique risks and Clovelly Road has a history of instability. This is not the first time part of the cliff face has eroded.”
He says the council has investigated the slip and its impact on the residential buildings directly at the top of the cliff face.
“We have also ensured the area below the slip is made safe for the public, including putting up signage.
“Neither the property filmed by a member of the public nor two neighbouring properties are considered dangerous,” Roberts says.
All potentially affected occupants and homeowners have been informed of the slip and are working with EQC, he says.
“Unless there is further movement that directly affects any buildings, this is a private matter and will be dealt with by individual owners and EQC.
“The council will continue its approach to managing more than 90 cliff slips on public land across the region.”
For more information on how to stay safe around slips, visit ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.