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Safety probe into hole

SIGNS OF LIFE: Bowlers play at Merewether Bowling Club on Tuesday, as work continues on the site next door. A landslip in December caused the back green, a fence, seats and a palm tree to collapse. Picture: Simone De Peak.THE quarry next to the Merewether Bowling Club, dubbed“Lake Llewellyn” by some locals, is being investigated by Newcastle City Council.
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The councilconfirmed tothe Newcastle Herald on Tuesdaythat it is conducting“an ongoing investigation into the safety of the perimeter” of the Llewellyn Streetsite.

A council spokesman said details of the investigation,such as its expected length and how much it would cost, were not available.

Work resumed in January on the mixedresidential and commercial development site, which borders the bowling club andcaved in in late December after collecting waterfor weeks.

The landslip collapseda bowling green, a fence, a rowof seatsanda palm tree, disruptedadental practice next door and prompted at least onenearby residentto leaveherhome.

Excavators continuedworkingthe site on Tuesday, and staff at thebowling club expected to recover someuse of thegreens on Wednesday after weeks ofplay beingconfined toeast-to-west.

“It’s positive from our point of view, especially since the rain has stopped,” the bowling club’s secretary Warwick Bourne said.

“The builder has retained our wall, and we’ll be able to resume [bowling] north-to-south from [Wednesday].”

ACTIVITY: Work continued on the site at Llewellyn Street, Merewether on Tuesday.

Developer John Smith of Valentine, who did not respond tocalls or texts, hadsaidpreviouslythata private certifier and engineer were responsible for the details of anyshoring up ofthe site’sexcavation.

As part of itsinvestigation ofthe site, the council has not lodged a complaint against theprivate certifierwith the state regulatorybody, the Building Professionals Board.

Mr Smith bought the site in 2012 from the supermarket giant Aldi after its planned Merewether store was rejected by the council.

Thirty-seven units, a childcare centre and commercial premises areapproved to be built there.

On December 16, a week before the collapse,the bowling club board wrote to the council requesting an urgent inspection of thesite because of the “method of excavation” used.

“This excavation has caused significant subsidence to an area adjoining our bowling green,” the club said at the time.