Port Hills homes zoned red

Last updated 08:38 14/09/2012

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After a year and a half in limbo, Bridle Path Rd property owner Samantha Jerard and her family can finally "move on".

The Jerard family home was among 37 white-zoned homes on the Port Hills to be zoned red last night after it was decided they were at risk of rockfall or cliff collapse.

All the properties were in the Horotane Valley and in Bridle Path Rd.

A further eight properties in Lucas Ln remain in white-zone limbo, with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) saying it will make its decision on the Lucas Ln properties next month.

Jerard said the news was "bittersweet".

"It's the right decision for us. At last we now have the opportunity to move on and move forward after a year and a half in limbo,'' she said.

''However, the thought of the property being disbanded and pulled apart is emotional." 

She said some property owners would be "absolutely devastated" by the decision.

Jerard said she was told by Cera about the decision by phone yesterday.

"I think there was a lot of frustration, upset and anger around the way the last round of zoning was handled. We found out in the papers the next day,'' she said.

"We asked specifically at a white-zone meeting that Cera notify us beforehand and they've delivered on that. They called us early enough in the evening that gave us time to digest it." 

The home was earthquake-damaged but was structurally sound. It was not red-stickered.

Because it was not a rebuild, Jerard said, it appeared the only option would be to accept the full Government buyout.

In a statement issued late last night, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said there was no choice but to red-zone the homes in Horotane Valley and in Bridle Path Rd.

"We delayed making a decision on these properties in August as we wanted to explore every avenue possible for these properties,'' he said.

"Over recent weeks, experts have carried out a final detailed assessment to see if the 37 properties could be protected by mitigation.

"After consideration of a range of factors, including feasibility, complexities around land ownership, cost-effectiveness and timeliness, we have concluded it is not practicable to implement major area-wide mitigation.''

The Government will now make an offer to buy insured residential properties, insured residential properties with dwellings under construction, and insured non-residential properties owned by not-for-profit organisations.

A final decision has not yet been made on vacant, uninsured or commercial properties in the Port Hills.

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Cera said last night it would also announce a process for Port Hills residents seeking a review of their zoning decision.

The announcement means that since June, 443 Port Hills homes have been red-zoned because of the risk of rockfall and cliff collapse.

- The Press

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