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Slip sliding away

Hinakura Rd could only be navigated by foot on Tuesday. PHOTO/PIP WILKINSON

Hinakura Road wiped out yet again

THEO GERRITSEN, EVA DE JONG and ISABELLA CLEARY
[email protected]

A resident estimated the latest slip had shifted Hinakura Rd 10m overnight. PHOTO/EVA DE JONG

A massive and destructive slip has wiped out an 80m stretch of Hinakura Rd.

The same section of Hinakura Rd has been buried three times in the past year, but the latest has residents concerned for their safety and income.

South Wairarapa District Council manager of operations Stephen Corbett said the wipeout couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“This is a blow to the extensive work that has been done to the road in recent months … we were making very good progress and were nearing completion.”

Martinborough Community Board deputy chairman Aidan Ellims said residents were concerned the slip would delay emergency services.

“In the past, there were delays for fire services to travel because of the timing and the distance.”

Hinakura Rd after the third slip in a year. PHOTOS/PIP WILKINSON

Ellims said he knew of a family who was staying in Masterton because they could not rely on an ambulance getting to them in time.

A disgruntled farmer said he had been badly impacted by the slip, which had the potential to cost him $100,000 over winter.

“I’m scrambling at the minute trying to organise stock. I’ve got a load of lambs going out and shearing tomorrow [Thursday]. I’m trying to get shearers through.

“I’ve had to reduce loads going to the works, so right away I’m losing money. I’ve had to cut down the number of shearing, and I’m not sure we’ll get them done this winter.”

The farmer, who preferred not to be named, said he had lived on Hinakura Rd for 17 years and had been frequently disappointed by the council’s maintenance.

“They’ve had chances over summer a couple of years ago to fix it or alleviate it, but no. They wait until it’s a shitstorm.”

Residents on the eastern side of the slip would be forced to take Admiral Rd to Martinborough, adding an extra 45 minutes to their journey.

Hinakura resident of 20 years Grant Muir, said the road was like a “goat track in places”.

Resident Pip Wilkinson said the slip was the worst yet, and that it had continued to move throughout the day.

“It should have had serious earthmoving done back into the hill, and the council never did.”

Wilkinson said access to her family’s farm, usually a 45-minute drive away, was now over two hours.

Resident Clayton Hartnell said he estimated the road had shifted about 10 metres.

“Council works with contractors, Fulton Hogan, engineers, and everyone just passes the buck. They do very little maintenance.

“The last time it happened was just before Christmas. All they did was put down some limestone, gravel and fencing.”

SWDC said they were assessing options to address the damage.

Deep cracks exposed on Hinakura Rd on Tuesday. PHOTO/EVA DE JONG

Corbett said the timeline for improving the road’s condition by staff sickness and ex-Cyclone Dovi in February.

“It is frustrating for both residents and ourselves, and we will continue to stay in close contact as the situation unfolds.”

SWDC could not immediately provide an estimate of costs for the road’s repairs.

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