Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pine Forest - Slips Sunshine Bay - post #3

October 2006 the hillside is on the move again. It has been moving, of course, for millions of years. The land shakes and moves. The cover grows, dies, regenerates. We burn the cover off or cut roads and tracks through it. We dig platforms for houses and so on. But yes, it moved again 2006 and suddenly many people said it was the Council's fault! We love to blame someone, anyone, but particularly government bodies. That month had seen over 300 slips around the Wellington area. If we live on hills we are bound to contribute to their demise. But they will erode over time without our intervention.

This particular area has slipped quite often over the last 40 years or so. 1976 (or was it '77?) there was a very substantial rainfall during December. The western Hutt hills literally ran with water, pushing cars off the road below. In Sunshine Bay several significant slips occurred, one bringing down a crib block wall to the bottom of a valley. In 2004 the Pine Forest area began to slip - surprise surprise - without any help from the Council. And it has continued to the present. It has been a dramatic and for some, traumatic over the past 4 years. I am retrospectively doing these posts to give a slightly longer term perspective to the ecological factors than simply the cutting of the forest over a couple of years.

This photo, taken October 2006, is looking south from above Sunshine Bay to the northern ridge between Days Bay and Sunshine Bay.

The position of the cottage that was destroyed earlier (mentioned in a previous post) is labeled.

Top left there was a small stand of beech trees that had grown up with the pines,in their shelter. They died following the demise of the pine forest.

The bigger slip, shown in the centre of the photo, contributed to the destruction of the house below, just above the Marine drive. These slips and other recent ones, started in 2004 - before the Council had done anything. Of course, the valley has been slipping for millenniums - that's why there is a valley there!
This photo is taken from the head of the slip shown in the previous photo. It was taken October 2006 and has grown considerably since then. The house at the bottom of the valley that had a bedroom destroyed has subsequently been removed.

This is the house, October 2006. Some of the large, fallen pine tree trunks that came down with the slip can be seen .

The white house on the right was also damaged and has also been removed.

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