Residents of the quake-devastated Christchurch suburb of Bexley are considering suing the city council.

Bexley suffered some of the worst damage in the September 4, magnitude 7.1 quake. Liquefaction was a huge problem, and many residents believe that was because their homes were built on what was once a swamp.

Christchurch Mayor Boy Parker said soon after the quake that the Christchurch City Council had opposed homes being built in such areas but that developers had appealed to the Environment Court and got the green light. In fact, Bexley residents were the ones who objected to council plans to develop the area.

The Sunday Star Times today reported the Pacific Park land which was so hard hit in the quake had sold three times in the 90s as developers cashed in on the council changing the zoning classification from industrial to residential - against residents' wishes.

Other swampy land subdivisions withstood the quake but they had had soil strengthening work done; Pacific Park land is mostly silt and sand to 3m, with little or no hard fill, and some filling was done without council supervision, according to Land Information Memorandum reports.

Rodney Wells' home in Seabreeze Close has been condemned, the result of what he says was a "cheap Johnny job" by developers "wanting to make a quick buck".

"I've spent a lifetime getting to where I am and it's been taken away, not by the quake, but by those who never did the job right in the first place, and authorities who didn't look at it because they thought they'd get rates out of it. It's all about the dollar," he told the newspaper.

He would consider legal action if the Earthquake Commission and the Christchurch City Council did not "come to the party".

His neighbour, Laura McConchie, said people would be happy to get what their houses and land were worth.

"No one wants massive payouts," she told the newspaper.

Developer Phil Burmester, of Quarrington Holdings, got the ball rolling on developing the land in 1991, applying to the council for a zone change before selling it on within a year.

Next up was David Lyall's company Pacific Park Estate, which developed roads and about 30 homes before selling the remaining land to Enterprise Homes in 1996. Over the next 10 years, 150 more homes were built.

The land can be made safe, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says, but fears of being unable to sell their homes in future mean many Bexley residents do not want to rebuild.

Meanwhile, the city continues to be rocked by aftershocks, with three hitting within 15 minutes last night.

The three ranged from magnitude 4.1 to 3.8.

- NZPA