In April 2017, the base track around Mauao was damaged during ex-Cyclone Debbie. Council is working to restore and improve the track for the long-term.
Temporary access installed
Temporary access has been restored to the base track, enabling walkers to once again complete a loop around Mauao.
Box steps have been built up and around the slip site. They are designed to be removable, and with no earthworks required to install them they have minimal impact on archaeological sites in the area. The temporary access solution is not wheelchair or pram accessible. It will remain in place until a long-term solution has been completed.
The long-term solution
We are currently working through a long-term, sustainable solution to slip damage that will involve building a new section of track that runs along the beach at Pilot Bay, past the statue of Tangaroa. After it is completed, the current damaged track will be decommissioned.
We are currently in the detailed design and planning stage of the project. The design and consenting of the project is currently out for tender. Once a designer is appointed, we will be able to share a timeline for the project.
Once we have finalised a design, the build needs to go through a complex consent process. Part of this process will involve the mitigation of any potential negative environmental impacts. Once consenting is complete, work can begin.
What will it cost to repair the track?
Council has approved up to $2.2 million to reroute the base track.
Why is it so expensive?
The initial slip was 14 metres wide. However, the more we looked into the slip, the more it became apparent that there is a stretch of about 250m of track which is built on a relic slip. Generally, if an area has slipped before it will again – it’s just a matter of when.
If we repair just the section of track that’s currently damaged, we’ll wind up carrying out these repairs again and again every time a new part of the track slips. This will incur costs many times over. Repairing only the slip area would also require cutting into the mountain, which is in opposition to the management board’s objective of preserving Mauao’s natural character and landscape.
Instead, we’ve opted to avoid the unstable area entirely by realigning the track. This is costly, particularly in this area as there is no vehicle access – materials will need to be shipped in by barge.
This track runs underneath the existing one - won’t it still be susceptible to slips?
Yes. However, the design will make repairing any damage to the new section of track quick and relatively inexpensive.
Why not go over the slip, rather than underneath it?
There is a significant archaeological site above the slip which would be damaged by any earthworks in the area. Building a track through the site would be in opposition to management objectives for the reserve, and would be unlikely to be approved by heritage authorities.
Will the long-term solution be accessible?
The new piece of track will be accessible for prams and wheelchairs.
Last Reviewed: 09/10/2017