An almost permanent patch of wet soil and dirty water seeping from a Snells Beach path is still causing grief for local residents, a decade after it first appeared.
The rusty puddle and soggy sidewalk is on the corner of Aurora Avenue and Hapuka Close at the northern end of Snells, and long-term residents remember it first appearing when infrastructure for the new development first went in around 10 years ago.
Despite numerous complaints to Watercare, Auckland Council and even telco providers – the damp patch surrounds a service box – by local residents over the years, the path remains flooded, forcing walkers into the road.
Lorraine Mildon has lived next to the affected stretch of pavement since 2017. She said despite countless complaints and several site visits, no one had ever solved the problem.
“They’ve all investigated it,” she said. “Nobody knows for sure what it is.
“It’s quite embarrassing actually, because it’s right outside our place and it looks like we don’t care, and we do care.”
Neighbour Amanda Wynne is the latest to try to get the problem sorted, with complaints to Watercare and Council, plus a Facebook post that attracted dozens of posts of support.
“I like to go for a walk and I see people walking their dogs, mums pushing pushchairs and there’s someone living here in a wheelchair, and we all have to use the road,” she said.
“The majority of people who live down here are retired or semi-retired, exactly the people you don’t want falling over and breaking their bones.”
She said Watercare had told her it was runoff, not a leak, and therefore a Council matter, so she had passed all her correspondence to Rodney Local Board deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke in the hope of making progress.
Houlbrooke said she had referred the complaints to the Community Facilities and Compliance departments.
“Unfortunately, the compliance team has been the victim of staff cuts over the past couple of years and we are seeing the effects of those cuts show up in examples like this. They simply don’t have the staff to follow up every complaint,” she said. “That is one of the reasons the local board is funding two compliance wardens from our own discretionary funds.”
She said in the meantime, she had asked for the path to be water-blasted to remove any slime and make it less slippery.
Meanwhile, the Mildon family believes the problem is nothing to do with broken pipes or runoff, but is most likely to be a natural spring coming up through iron-rich soils, giving the water its rusty appearance.
Lorraine’s daughter, Jodene, said she remembered playing in the area as a child when it was a campground, and there was always a muddy patch full of water in the same spot.
Houlbrooke said if that was the case, there could be a relatively straightforward fix.
“If it is a spring, then perhaps an area of raised boardwalk would be the answer, which allows the water to run under it,” she said. “I’ll raise it with community facilities.”