Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Landslip victims asked to pay for further work

Houses on Priscilla Cres balance on the edge of a slip in Wellington's suburb of Kingston. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
Houses on Priscilla Cres balance on the edge of a slip in Wellington's suburb of Kingston. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

A Wellington resident made homeless by a massive slip two weeks ago says he's upset by a letter from the council asking the homeowner to pay for further work on the property.

Thirty-five residents from eight homes on Priscilla Crescent and Breton Grove in Kingston were forced from their homes on June 1. Restricted entry tape still barred the entrances to five homes today, but has been removed from the other three.

One of the residents allowed home, Asofa Manase, said he got back to find a letter from the Wellington City Council suggesting homeowners implement a slope hazard management plan, monitor ground movement, have the results reviewed by a geotechnical engineer and relay the results to the council.

Mr Manase, who rents a property on Priscilla Crescent, said he couldn't believe the council was walking away from the residents.

"I'm going to take the letter to my lawyer,'' he said.

The owner of the property, Hugh Moseley, did not want to comment on the letter.

Mr Manase said he was told on Friday by the council that he could return to his home during the day to remove items he needed but was not able to stay overnight.

He hoped to be able to return permanently to the home he shares with his mother and niece later this week.

"I have my fingers crossed,'' he said.

Mr Manase operated a key-cutting business from his garage and had not been able to work since the slip, because his equipment was too heavy to move.

He was staying at a hotel, which he was paying for, which was contributing to the financial strain, he said.

"It's very painful.''

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council did not have the right to force residents to take up their suggestions.

The council was not "completely stepping away'' from work around the slip area, he said.

"We're obviously going to keep doing our own monitoring of the area, but ultimately it's private property so the residents and their insurers have to step in and start making some decisions as well.''

It was still unclear what caused the slip but the council was looking at engineers' reports, and insurers and the Earthquake Commission were also conducting investigations.

"The story is not yet over, by any stretch of the imagination.''

If the council was found to be responsible they would "step up to their responsibilities'', Mr MacLean said.

The council had invited the affected residents to a meeting later this week discuss the issues within the letter, he said.

- APNZ

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