In the years since the earthquakes, starting with 4 September 2010, rock which fell off the cliffs at Scarborough has been washing up on the Sumner Lifeboat slipway where we launch our rescue vessels. This has resulted in the offshore lifeboat, Blue Arrow Rescue, being temporarily berthed at Lyttelton as she can not be launched at Sumner until the slipway is cleared.
Sumner Lifeboat has been granted $50k from the Canterbury Earthquakes Appeal Trust to extend the railway irons further out to allow all-tide launching of Blue Arrow Rescue. These funds can not be utilised until we can fund the digging and removal of debris from on the breakwater, in the gap between the slipway and the breakwater, and on the public ramp on the south side of our slipway (where we launch Hamilton Jet Rescue). Due to the passing of time since this funding was approved, the cost of the project has now increased to $60k.
These photos show the dramatic infill of rock over recent years, from 2010 when there was a decent gap under the concrete slipway, to the present day where the rock is coming over the top of the ramp.
Previously, where storm surges coincided with high tide, the water would wash part of the way up the slipway and then fall off each side into the gap. Now that there is no longer a gap between the slipway and the breakwater, the swell continues its way up the concrete slip and damages the garage doors at the front of the building, pushing sand and rocks into the boathouse.
Expert engineers have advised that this build-up of rock material is finite and will decrease with time. This gives us hope that it is not a futile effort to dig it out, and that the site remains viable in the long term. We just need to dig it out and keep the slipway clear until the build-up subsides.
Lyttelton Port of Christchurch has offered to take the rubble as fill if we can arrange to have it dug out and delivered. If you can help, please contact us.