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Cape Kidnappers landslide update

landslide 2 Small

Ongoing landslides continue at Clifton Beach, prompting calls to continue to heed warning signs of the beach closure. 

The Clifton Beach access to Cape Kidnappers was closed after a major landslide on January 23, which seriously injured two tourists. This was followed by similar sized one on February 2, with more activity being observed in the weeks since.

Last weekend, another large landslide occurred at the site of the initial landslide.

Surveys being conducted in the area will help provide more accurate details on whether this new activity means there is a heightened risk of even further landslides.

On the weekend of March 23 another unrelated landslide saw about 3000 cubic metres of material fall off the cliff about 500 metres back towards Clifton from the original landslide. This landslide was large enough to temporarily block the beach and further rock fall has continued at this site since.

The Clifton Beach access remains closed to the public until April 29 when the council aims to open it with interim health and safety measures in place to reduce the risk of harm to the public. Access to the Department of Conservation track will not re-open on April 29.

These measures include increased signage and information for users as well as an interim operations manual. The manual will consider events such as earthquakes, large swells, significant rainfall and further large landslides. These events would require the review of measures, including access along the beach, to be re-assessed.

Due to the ongoing instability of the cliffs, people are strongly urged to avoid the area due to the risk of injury or even death.

A Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) of the area is underway to gather a more accurate assessment of the dangers of the cliffs above the beach and other risk factors.

This is estimated to take six months to complete, after which time the Department of Conservation will consider whether it will re-open its facilities and track to the Gannet Colony.

Pic: Another landslide has occurred further up the beach – note the scale of the rockfall compared to the person in the foreground.

4 April 2019

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