Damaged car park costing Birkenhead businesses

2:51 pm on 10 October 2017

A town centre association on the North Shore estimates businesses are losing millions of dollars a year because of problems with a slip-prone car park.

The landslip at the Rawene Road carpark.

Part of the carpark slipped down the valley. Photo: RNZ / Zac Fleming

Part of the carpark in Birkenhead slipped down a valley after months of heavy rain and the council has now also closed a road that runs behind it. A large area of the Rawene Road carpark was cordoned off yesterday while engineers checked out the slip for the council.

Birkenhead town centre manager Kae Condon said companies were losing an estimated $12,000 dollars a day in revenue.

Ms Condon said customers could not find carparks and some businesses were moving their offices out of the area because staff could not get parking.

She said the car park has shrunk from 131 to 53 spaces because of an upgrade, spaces being leased for use by construction vehicles, and 30 to 40 spaces lost in the slip.

Auckland Transport has closed off more of a carpark that has slipped away in heavy rain.

Heavy rain over many months has caused the slip in part of the 131-space carpark, opposite Birkenhead Library.

Auckland Transport said the slip appeared to have stabilised overnight, but for safety reasons it had also closed the road which runs behind the car park.

Building inspectors from Auckland Council are assessing structures in the area.

Part of the cordoned off carpark at Rawene Road, Birkenhead.

Part of the cordoned-off carpark. Photo: RNZ / Zac Fleming

Steve Simms from the Birkenhead Brewing Company said cracks began to appear in the area a couple of months ago.

Mr Simms said 30 to 40 carparks had slipped down the valley and the landslide had also blocked access to private carparks behind businesses.

"We've lost probably about $8 million worth of economic benefit to the area because each carpark is worth something to our local businesses.

"And carparks are scarce in our area right now."

Auckland Transport has said engineers have been monitoring the site for several months.

Engineers have been working to determine the stability of the fill that the car park has been built on.

Part of the cordoned-off carpark.

Photo: RNZ / Zac Fleming

Auckland Transport chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds said the original car park was built in the 1960s.

"It appears as if the substrate soil underneath has fallen away. We've been monitoring this site now for over a year and some cracks appeared a few weeks ago that we've obviously isolated but it looks like the structure underneath the carpark has actually failed.

"We've had pretty significant rain and weather over the last 12 months or so, you can see across Auckland we've had stormwater damage and this is kind of probably part of that issue.

"We don't think that there's any issue with the surrounding construction site. We need the geotech engineers to have a look at it. There's actually nothing we can do about it other than secure the car park to make sure it's safe, which is exactly what we did.

"The car park was built many, many years ago - back in the '60s I understand ... It's probably taken about 30 car parks out here.

"We need to let the subsidence settle ... that could take some time to assess. We closed parts of the car park when we considered it to be unsafe and we've continued to monitor it since then.

"It's not an uncommon engineering issue for us to deal with."

The carpark on Rawene Rd, Birkenhead.

Photo: Google Maps