Evicted tenants will be rehomed
A total of 36 social housing residents, many of them elderly, have been given seven days to leave their homes.
A detailed engineering evaluation report on Brougham Village in Waltham has found the complex would not withstand any significant earthquakes.
The Christchurch City Council, which owns and operates the complex, this afternoon promised to find alternative homes for all tenants who will have to leave the Brougham St housing complex.
It said 36 of the 89 units in the village would be closed after an engineering report concluded they fell below 34 per cent of the new building standard.
Two blocks and part of five other blocks have been assessed as between 19 and 22 per cent of the standard. Engineers have recommended the units should not be occupied.
Village resident Thomas, who did not want his surname published, said the residents were in "total shock".
"We were handed a four-page letter about half an hour ago,'' he said. ''It says the complex is uninhabitable due to the risk from any further earthquakes."
The man, who has lived at the complex for six years, said residents would this afternoon "discuss our options".
Thomas said that before the quakes more than 200 people lived in the complex. "A lot of people left voluntarily, but others were helped to leave because their units were uninhabitable."
He said the letter, from the council's social housing unit, had "added insult to injury".
"It says, 'As this is a disruptive time we would like to take the opportunity to get together for a barbecue'," he said.
"So in the middle of packing, moving and trying to find somewhere else to live, they want us to gather on the grass for a barbecue. It's outrageous."
Juliet O'Connor, who knows people who live at the complex, said there was at least one terminally ill person living at the village.
"These people are not in the mindset to deal with this and they are vulnerable and they need help."
She said the complex did not just house elderly people.
The council said the law required it to give the 36 affected tenants seven days' notice because they were considered to be at risk in the event of future quakes or aftershocks.
The council said it would not only find alternative accommodation for all 36 before the notice period expired, it would also offer to move their belongings.
Six tenants, who lived in units that had been assessed as more than 34 per cent of the building code, would be able to stay, it said.
Community services general manager Michael Aitken said the council was conscious it would be a difficult time for people who had to leave their homes, but it had to ensure their safety.
"This is a distressing time for tenants but we are pleased that our staff have been able to identify that there will be other units available,'' he said.
"We hope this will at least help to alleviate some of the disruption caused by this decision. Our staff will be working closely with tenants over the coming days to help them as much as possible while they move."
Another 47 units in the complex were already vacant because of quake damage or because a decision was made not to let the units when they became vacant until the level 2 engineering assessment were known.
Brougham Village was opened in the late 1970s.
Thirty years after it opened, the New Zealand Institute of Architects gave it an award for enduring architecture, praising its "inventive and humanistic approach to the architectural endeavour of community housing".
Its architect was Don Cowey. He was killed in Redcliffs during the February 22 earthquake last year.
The council has recently received $21 million as partial settlement of its Earthquake Commission claim for its city housing facilities.
The council has prioritised repairs to its 400 units that are already closed because of the quakes, with work under way to assess the extent of damage and to look at repair options.
Recommendations on repairs will be made to councillors.
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