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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Unstable rocks hold up Clifton Hill work

Unstable rocks hold up Clifton Hill work

Last updated 05:00 23/06/2011
Residents on a Christchurch hillside face isolation as land repairs are delayed and the condition of their sole access road worsens.

Clifton Tce, the only road into Clifton Hill, has been closed since last week's aftershocks while contractors cleared slips, but work stopped this week because of safety fears.

"[Contractors] are waiting for the debris that's fallen to stabilise so they can be sure it's not going to come down on the people who are working," a Christchurch City Council spokeswoman said.

There was no time frame for work to resume, she said.

Panorama Rd resident Tim Webster said the inactivity was frustrating. "What do they expect to happen? Some invisible act of God will make it all safe?"

The residents' only exits were a walking track or a track through the private Gethsemane Gardens to Summit Rd.

The private road was cleared and improved by the council last week but had deteriorated to "a bog" since, Webster said.

Revelation Dr resident Daphne Manderson said: "There's a lot of concern if we have to go out there through winter.

"I went through there [on Tuesday] and it was very sludgy. The road's not good enough for the sort of concentrations we're going to have over the next two or three months."

Residents needed to be better informed about what work was being done, she said.

Webster said smaller vehicles had little hope of using the private road.

"If you haven't got a four-wheel-drive or a reasonably powered car, you're screwed," he said.

"There are a lot of elderly people up here. They're just stranded. They don't have the confidence to drive out."

Neighbour Bill Degen said he had seen several cars get stuck and have to be pulled free.

Sumner chief fire officer Alan Kerr said fire truck access from the top of the hill could not be gauranteed.

"We probably wouldn't be able to get in if it started raining, which it did over the weekend," he said.

The council planned to seal the road this week, weather permitting.

A rumour had spread on the hill that an injunction from a resident worried the Clifton Tce repair work would damage their land was behind the delay.

No injunction had been filed with the High Court and council staff said they had no notification.

The barrier at the bottom of Clifton Tce was moved up yesterday afternoon, allowing some residents vehicle access.

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