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July 2017 Issue
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Major slip on new sealed Cathedral Cove walkway

Recent heavy rain caused parts of the track to collapse. Photo: Christine Smith

The new Cathedral Cove sealed walkway has sustained a major slip following heavy rain in the Coromandel Peninsula.

The walkway was sealed in late 2016 to make it an easier undertaking for the hundreds of thousands of visitors Cathedral Cove receives each year. The cost to seal it was $400,000, which ruffled the feathers of some local residents, who said the money would have been better spent elsewhere, such as on developing a better parking system for visitors.

Roughly 60 to 70m of the track has been damaged, said DOC conservation services manager Dale Tawa. There’s a significant landslip near the damaged track; Tawa said it’s a chronic slip area, and that they may need to reroute the track around it.

The damage is near the beginning of the track, but doesn’t restrict access because only half of the pavement has dropped away. Tawa said that if the track hadn’t been sealed, it would have likely sustained more damage in the heavy rainfall.

“A sealed track provides more longevity than an unsealed track,” he said. “In an unsealed track we would be going back continually to bring it up to standard and maintaining it after a flood.”

Tawa added that before the track was sealed, during every major rainfall, a river of mud and gravel would be washed down the center of the trail. The sealing means far less ongoing maintenance.

DOC has engineers assessing the damage in order to provide an estimate for the cost to fix it. Tawa said they may elect to reroute the track around the slip if it’s more cost effective.

Since the track has been sealed, visitor numbers have risen, Tawa said.