Review of red-zoned Port Hills properties detailed

Rockslides on the Port Hills cliff. Photo / NZ Herald
Rockslides on the Port Hills cliff. Photo / NZ Herald

Homeowners who live in quake-affected areas on the Port Hills above Christchurch have three weeks to appeal against a Government land zoning decision.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced the parameters of the review, which looks at the boundaries used to identify residential red and green zones.

Boundaries have been drawn up to separate areas where life risk is assessed as "above or below acceptable levels".

Falling rocks and boulders shaken free from quakes have been identified as a major risk to homes and lives and have been a major stumbling block in getting a final zoning decision on some of the Port Hills homes.

Red zones have been declared where the level of life risk is considered unacceptable based on GNS modelling, and where area-wide mitigation is not considered practical for a range of reasons.

The review applies to land that was at any stage zoned white.

However, it does not review the Section 124 notices applied to properties by the Christchurch City Council, or any individual mitigation options to protect properties from rockfall.

Mr Brownlee said decisions regarding individual mitigation and section 124 notices are controlled by the council as the consent authority, and all queries with regard to these scenarios should be directed to council.

Today, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said the decision not to look at section 124 notices or at individual protection measures was "an offensive slap in the face" for residents.

She said that until now the city council had been "silent" on the issue, instead deferring to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera).

But now, Mr Brownlee says it's up to the council to look at the process.

"Gerry Brownlee and Bob Parker must get together urgently and stop this nonsense," Ms. Dyson said.

"Their inability to coordinate their work is stressing families and destroying communities. It is easy to resolve. It needs goodwill and leadership and I urge the minister and the mayor to make this resolution a priority - now.

"This decision is fundamental to the wellbeing and lives of these families. They deserve to have these issues considered properly, not carved up and passed between the two bodies."

Property owners have until October 26 to apply to be part of the review, with the exception of eight Lucas Lane property owners who have yet to have their zones confirmed. The review will be completed in December.

As with the flat land review, the Port Hills' zoning review panel will be chaired by Dr Keith Turner, include public policy and legal experts from Cera, along with an independent geotechnical engineer who has had no involvement in previous zoning decisions. The city council will also have a representative on the panel.

Property owners seeking to be part of the review should apply by emailing info@cera.govt.nz or by calling 0800 RING CERA.

- APNZ

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