Worried about repeated rockfalls

Dunedin resident Ashley Boorer is keeping a nervous eye on the cliff above his home, after a boulder estimated to weigh more than a tonne crashed down, destroying his dog kennel run. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin resident Ashley Boorer is keeping a nervous eye on the cliff above his home, after a boulder estimated to weigh more than a tonne crashed down, destroying his dog kennel run. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin resident Ashley Boorer is considering buying a helmet after months living in the shadow of a crumbling cliff.

The 57-year-old, who has lived in his Cranley St, Musselburgh, home for 25 years, has been watching and waiting as cracks grew in the cliff above his house.

In April, he was woken shortly after midnight when a large boulder calved off the cliff, 20m above his home, and rumbled down into his backyard.

The boulder hit a ledge on the way down and split into fragments, sending an estimated one tonne or more of rock raining down.

It was at least the fourth time a rock had come loose from the cliff in recent years, including a giant boulder which ripped through the unoccupied bedroom of a family home in nearby Ravelston St in 2013.

The latest rock to fall missed Mr Boorer's house but ''flattened'' the run of his dog kennel, sending the terrified animal scampering for his door.

More than two months later, the rubble remained in Mr Boorer's backyard, and he was still waiting for the threat to be addressed.

He had contacted the Dunedin City Council, but had been told the cliff was private property and not the council's problem. He had also contacted the Earthquake Commission, which, following an inspection, was arranging for a contractor to make the cliff above his home safer.

The work would involve contractors abseiling down to clear loose rocks, and drilling in bolts to secure others.

In the meantime, he has been keeping a nervous eye on the cliff face, looking to see where the next rock could come from.

''There's another piece further along. There's a piece of rock and the gap above the rock is getting bigger and bigger.

''I've got a bird aviary on the other side, right under the cliff as well, so I'm always wary of feeding them.''

He was not sure if land instability, wet weather or water seepage was to blame for the recent problem in the area, but it seemed ''a bit of a coincidence'' to have numerous incidents close together.

Just last week DCC contractors were called in to stabilise a cliff face on Shore St - above a council footpath and road - after cracks were spotted.

Elsewhere, motorists faced temporary speed restrictions after a series of rockfalls on to State Highway 88, linking the city to Port Chalmers, earlier this month.

Mr Boorer said he remained happy to live in his home, even if the rockfall suggested he was ''not that safe''.

''I might have to buy a hard hat or something.''

 

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