'Save our homes' plead hill residents

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 10:46 20/09/2012
Tony Ging
Don Scott
RED-ZONED: Tony Ging wants to stay in his Avoca Valley Rd home.

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Newly red-zoned Port Hills residents believe some of their homes could be saved if the city council took steps to mitigate the rockfall risk.

Speaking to the council today, Avoca Valley homeowner Tony Ging said that of the 168 Port Hills homeowners recently zoned red, about 50 wanted to stay in their homes.

Most believed that if the council took steps to reduce the rockfall risk from council-owned land, an acceptable life-risk level could be reached, allowing them to keep their houses.

Ging said the residents believed geotechnical information already gathered for the zoning process could be used to design effective rockfall mitigation.

Life risk, boulder trajectories, bounce heights and energy levels had been documented and there were many geotechnical engineers available who could use that information to design effective protection.

Ging said companies such as Maccaferri believed they could design and build effective rockfall embankments for about $5000 a linear metre.

On average, the mitigation would cost less than half the value of the properties, which meant that about $5 million of taxpayers' money and $5m of ratepayers' money could be saved.

Ging said his Avoca Valley property and the neighbouring property had a combined government valuation of more than $1.6m.

The estimated cost of constructing a 83.5-metre reinforced earth bund to protect them from rockfall was just over $440,000.

That could save the council and the Government $1.2m in buyout costs, he said.

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