21 Aug 2010

More time needed for hillside assessment

1:12 pm on 21 August 2010

Whakatane District Council says it could be a week before geotechnical experts decide how to deal with an unstable hillside behind several houses.

Up to 10 residents were evacuated from Muriwai Drive on Wednesday and have not been allowed to return after days of heavy rain threatened to dislodge the slip.

The council says the danger has also forced a playground in the street to close.

It has also declared the Whakatane River entrance 'safe' for boats after tests revealed good depths of water over the bar.

Recent rain caused sediment to build up on the north western side of the harbour entrance.

The council says boaties should follow the channel markers.