Residents fear high voltage lines could collapse

By Genevieve Helliwell

Two power poles holding up three lines with 11,000 volts of electricity pumping through them is closer to the edge of a cliff after a huge slip last weekend, leaving residents fearful of their safety.

Tonnes of fresh earth lie at the bottom of the cliff in Maungatapu following a "massive" slip on to the beach below the rugby fields.

Resident Barry Benton told the Bay of Plenty Times the cliff, which is prone to slips and featured in a Monday Bay of Plenty Times My Suburb special report this month, was unstable and it was "only a matter of time" before the power poles fell down on to dozens of houses.

"This slip is one step closer to us losing this bank and the power poles ending up in the sand and the lines coming down on houses.

"Transpower engineers say it's safe but blind Freddy can see that it's not," Mr Benton said. He believed "tonnes" of soil had dropped on to the beach below.

The power poles are on Te Ariki Park, at the end of Maungatapu Rd, home of the Rangataua Sports and Cultural Club. Te Ariki Park is next to, and owned by, Maungatapu Marae.

"If it keeps raining like it was over the weekend then it could cause a lot of problems because it's not going to stop eroding," said Hinerongo Walker, a marae trustee who has lived in Maungatapu all her life. "I went down there to have a look and it's bad. Straight away I saw [the slip]. It's really dangerous."

Mrs Walker said the community had been rallying against Transpower for the past five to six years.

Transpower spokesperson Rebecca Wilson said a patroller visited the site after the weekend rain and the power poles were "completely stable".

- Bay of Plenty Times

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