A central city property owner is upset that his property falls within a new earthquake fault hazard boundary, saying a quake of the scale that would rupture the ground beneath his house would be just as bad for all property owners in Nelson.
Stephen Gray urged city councillors at a meeting on Thursday not to receive a revised report on earthquake fault lines until after the public consultation period.
Jan Smith, who owns two properties in the new overlay, was also concerned about the process and why the council was not also looking at liquefaction and tsunami risk. Updated information on Nelson's earthquake fault lines means hundreds of city properties will be removed from a fault hazard register, but 67 have been added.
Mr Gray, who spoke in the public forum of the policy and planning meeting, but later declined to speak to the Nelson Mail, criticised the process by which buildings had already been "tagged" while consultation was still under way.
Council chief executive Clare Hadley said the report was being treated as "provisionally final", meaning there was room for changes, and that it was normal practice for the council to receive such reports before consultation had begun.
The earthquake fault hazard overlay in the Nelson Resource Management Plan shows a corridor where a fault line is thought to be, and imposes controls on building and subdivision for properties in it.
The overlay shown in the plan is up to 200 metres wide, largely because it has not been known exactly where the fault lines are. It was put in place in the mid-1990s.
Since then, new information has been collected on the location of fault lines, which allows them to be identified with more precision. The council-contracted report prepared by Geological and Nuclear Sciences has used the updated information to recommend the revised fault hazard overlay.
The new corridor is narrower along sections of the Waimea and Flaxmore faults, reducing the number of properties in it from 1700 to 1100.
The council sent letters to affected residents, including those now included in the overlay, notifying them of the changes.
The new information will be added to the council's property and land information files so future buyers are aware of it.
Mr Gray said he bought his property 12 months ago, but would not have purchased it had he known the overlay would be changed. He was worried about the impact on his property value, and said he believed the consultation process was inadequate.
QV registered valuer Geoff Butterworth said that in the past, being in the overlay had not affected property values too much, unless an individual property had an issue.
Mr Gray said the report suggested his property was at no greater risk than others, but it stigmatised his property.
He was also upset that he would have to meet the cost of a geotechnical survey if he wanted a private assessment of whether his property could be removed from the overlay.
"I feel there's an injustice in asking me as landowner to give you the information to prove or disprove what this says."
He also voiced concerns over whether it would affect the ability to insure his property.
Cr Ian Barker noted that it was not the city's first overlay report, and asked if there were grounds for people's fears to be worse than before.
Councillors heard that there was a legal obligation to disclose the information, but there was the prospect for individual property owners to get better information than that contained in the report.
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