Dunedin's council is vowing it will not cut corners on a permanent solution for sink holes that have appeared in a popular seaside suburb.
Business owners near the esplanade in St Clair are beginning to fear for their buildings as the holes continue to grow into a long pit in the waterfront walkway.
The first holes opened up on Sunday after wave surges got in behind the sea wall.
Mayor Dave Cull says the holes are a seriously destructive emergency that the Dunedin City Council is sorting out as quickly as it can.
He says it has to stop the erosive process urgently, but also has to take its time on the right long-term solution for the St Clair seafront.
"There's no point in rushing in with a half-baked solution if we haven't thought it through."
Mr Cull says the council does not know how much the repairs will cost or how long they will take, but it will not scrimp on them.
Starfish Cafe owner Cushla Dodds says on Sunday there was one hole, then two and now there is a great long pit in the middle of the walkway.
Ms Dodds says the council has told her nothing and she has now rung her insurance company to see what the business is covered for.
"We are worried, I mean if that goes, the road goes, and in a worst case scenario the buildings could start going."
Next door, florist Carly Jones says each day the drama goes on, the more scary it becomes.
The owners say the Dunedin council has to fix the wall fast, then have a major rethink about its design of the whole sea front.
Locals say they told the council when they put in the esplanade the design was wrong for such a stormy coastline, but it would not listen.