Land values 'won't be reassessed'

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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The Christchurch City Council will not reassess the value of properties that have recently been earmarked as potentially contaminated.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) this week started telling owners of 11,000 Christchurch properties their land may be potentially contaminated by chemicals or hazardous substances, including lead, arsenic and pesticides.

The land may have once hosted hazardous activities and industries, including horticulture sites, service stations and sheep dips.

The news left owners of affected properties questioning what it meant for their land value and whether the council would revalue properties.

Council unit manager corporate finance Diane Brandish said the Christchurch city Rating Valuations were based on actual market conditions as of November 1, 2013. "They therefore don't take into account any contamination highlighted in the recent ECan report."

Sockburn resident Liz McBeath, whose property has been listed as potentially contaminated, questioned why it would be made public when no actual testing had been done.

"I'm absolutely disgusted that we have never been told," she said. "I think they (ECan) should be paying for it."

McBeath was worried her property would lose value as it was now on the Listed Land Use Register (LLUR) as it was potentially contaminated from waste disposal between 1965 and 1984.

"This is a joke and defamation against our investment without accurate information."

She said the onus should be on the authority that granted consent to build on the land to pay for testing of it now.

However, in most cases investigating, managing or remediating contaminated land was generally the landowner's responsibility.

ECan investigations and monitoring director Ken Taylor said the residential red zone was one of the first Hazardous Activities and Industries List (Hail) projects for Christchurch post-earthquake and was carried out with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority so was not included in the 11,000 properties.

The focus on Hail identification in the rest of the city - outside the central business district and the residential red zone - was to provide land information for the Earthquake Commission's land repair process and subsequent residential rebuilds and repairs.

Since the information was released on Tuesday, ECan has received 3183 statement requests online.

The LLUR site had 2920 visitors on Tuesday and yesterday, while the Potentially Contaminated Land in Christchurch page on ECan's website has had 1485 page views.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IF YOUR LAND IS CONTAMINATED.

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- The Press

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