Slip hit family left in limbo

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
The property was badly damaged by weekend flooding. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
The property was badly damaged by weekend flooding. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

An Otumoetai family affected by a major slip are in limbo for at least six weeks.

John and Kim Hemingway and their two teenage sons must wait for an engineering report, a land valuation report, and hold further talks with their insurer and bank.

They evacuated their Princess Rd home on Saturday night after heavy rain washed away part of their property, leaving their house precariously close to the edge of a major slip which buried a nearby transformer.

The family took refuge with relatives in Matua.

The family, who have never had any flooding problems before, are yet to return to the property which has power but no sewerage.

Mr Hemingway said the Earthquake Commission had agreed to cover the first 8m of section from the house but who paid for the rest of the repairs had yet to be established.

A Tomkin and Taylor geotech engineering report is expected to take at least three weeks.

It will then be at least another seven days before the commission's land valuation would be available.

Mr Hemingway said he had been told there was a 90 per cent chance the house could be saved.

It appeared the house would be okay but the engineers still had to conduct more tests including checking the structural integrity.

"But they are not prepared to say whether it is safe to return to the house ... if we decided to move back in, and there was more heavy rain in two to three days' time we could end up having to move out again."

Mr Hemingway said the Earthquake Commission told him that under their insurance policy they could claim the cost of renting a house for up to six months.

"The contractors have cleaned up the property as best they can and once we have the engineer's report we will know how much money will be needed to construct a retaining wall and what other options are open to us," he said.

"But it's clear that we will probably have to hit up our bank to pay for some of the work ourselves."

Mr Hemingway said once they received the reports, they would still have to apply to council for the appropriate consents and find their own engineer to do the work.

"In the meantime it's a waiting game and once I have heard from our insurer we will have to sit down as a family and make some decisions about what to do next," he said.

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