A lifeguard suffered grazes when a slip crashed through Northland’s Mangawhai Heads surf club on Wednesday after days of heavy rain.
The club house and surrounding area is now shut off, but lifeguards have been able to resume patrols on Thursday to ensure public safety.
The slip happened at about midday on Wednesday, when professional lifeguards were on duty, said Tony Baker, a spokesperson for Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service.
“The internal stairwell completely exploded, the girls’ bathroom was completely inundated with material and the men’s bathroom had material all through it.”
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A lifeguard who was in the men’s bathroom suffered minor grazes, but the building was quickly evacuated and rescue equipment saved, Baker said.
The professional lifeguards restarted their patrols on Thursday morning and volunteers will patrol over the weekend – with Waitangi Weekend expected to be one of the busiest, he said.
However, the surf club, and an area on the beach below the club, is off limits, Baker said.
“There is concern from the council that the slip may move further; there is a worry it may smash through the club and onto the beach.”
Baker said the club had been inundated with offers of help, but it was not clear yet what was needed.
The clubrooms are insured and he was confident the memorabilia inside – including trophies, old surfboards and photos – could be saved.
Those wanting to help have donated at least $1000 to the club’s Givealittle page in the last day.
Kaipara District Council, which administers the reserve land, said it was important people stay away from the area until further notice.
The council has cordoned off the lookout and surrounding public walking tracks, while the public toilets were also closed due to an issue with the wastewater network near the slip, a spokesperson said.
Portaloos would replace the public toilets until they could be fixed.
Black-flagged beaches closed for swimming
Meanwhile in Auckland, the sun may be out but swimmers are being encouraged to stay out of the water this weekend until conditions have returned to ‘green’ on Safeswim.
Surf lifeguards have been stood down from almost all Auckland beaches and won’t be back until February 8.
Following devastating floods and widespread contamination in the northern region, all urban beaches have been ‘black flagged’, banning swimming there for safety reasons.
Those black flagged beaches won’t be patrolled by surf lifesavers until at least Wednesday, February 8, Surf Life Saving Northern Region said.
It comes after a man was rescued from drowning at Muriwai Beach on Wednesday, requiring not only lifeguards but also the emergency rescue helicopter.
Auckland Council’s Safeswim programme manager said Nick Vigar said the decision to close the beaches had not been taken lightly.
“We know this will be frustrating for Aucklanders, but the recent flood events have had a significant impact on our beaches.
“Flood waters have washed debris into our waterways and these hazards may still be in the water,” he said.
“Slips and cliff instability also put beaches at risk, with the threat of rockfall and debris falling onto the sand below.
“To keep everyone safe, we are asking Aucklanders to stay away from our beaches this long weekend to allow time for the water quality to improve and clean ups to take place,” he added.