More than two years on, the cause of a land slip that forced a Northland homeowner to move into temporary accommodation is yet to be ascertained.
Three Christmases have gone since the slip at Manuka Pl in August 2019 and land developer Stan Semenoff is still working with geotech engineers and the Whangārei District Council to come up with a remediation report.
Semenoff is expected to provide the council with a design report in terms of mitigation and then the latter will do a peer review of that report which will discuss findings from all the instrument surveys and provide an option on how best the site can be remedied.
Semenoff, a former Whangārei mayor, did not respond to a request for comment on the issue.
Anthony Stringer and his wife were moved to temporary accommodation after the land slip in 2019 made their house uninhabitable and damaged WDC infrastructure.
The couple are still staying in a flat owned by Stringer's employer. They could not be reached for a comment.
The council believes work on land next to Kotata Heights resulted in the land slumping and the Stringers having to vacate their home. But an Earthquake Commission (EQC) report blamed it on rain and earthworks.
Following the land slip at Manuka Pl, a report by engineers Tonkin + Taylor to WDC in November 2019 found more than a dozen houses on Stage 2 at the nearby Kotata Heights may become unstable if the land moves, leading to weaker foundations and damaged land, buildings and infrastructure.
WDC then put building consent applications on some lots deemed most at risk on hold and more than an year on, the situation has not changed.
The report said Lots one to 10 in the northern area of stage two were not at risk but Lots 14 and 15 were and Lot 11 might be. In the southern area, Lots 11 to 18, 20 to 22, and 31 to 34 were at risk.
Geotech specialists Initia said stormwater discharge and runoff on the western slopes below the northern and southern areas could increase the risk of slips.
WDC general manager infrastructure Simon Weston said the council continued to monitor the site and confirmed minor movement has been detected on the slope, however this was at depth and no further damage to properties has been noted.
Tony Davies-Colley, a director of Kotata Developments, said stages 4a and b have been completed and sold while stage 4c and d were nearly complete. Stage 3 will be completed this year.
On how much longer will homeowners at Kotata Heights potentially at risk have to wait for the relevant authorities to ascertain how the slip happened and any enforcement action to be taken against those responsible, Weston referred this newspaper to private insurers.
He said following advice from Tonkin + Taylor, WDC commissioned further geotechnical engineering analysis from Initia, a geotechnical engineering company based in Auckland.
Its reports on stages 1A, 1B and 2 of the Kotata development were shared with the developer with details provided to landowners, he said.
"The developer in turn commissioned further analysis from Initia whose further reports have been received but are still being reviewed by the developer and its consulting engineers.
"Council has requested those reports to assist in an assessment of the building consent applications it has received and which are still on hold and what if any remedial works might be required," Weston said.