John Key offers hope for Flockton

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 08:51 25/07/2014

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Central and local government could join forces to help pay for flood mitigation for a small number of Christchurch homes, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key was in Christchurch yesterday and faced questions about the future of many flood-prone homeowners who recently found out they did not meet the Earthquake Commission's (EQC) increased flooding vulnerability (IFV) criteria.

He said the Christchurch City Council and his Government could look at funding land remediation for a "discrete number of homes" in the Flockton Basin area.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel yesterday expressed her frustration with EQC, saying it had taken a long time for it to recognise increased flood risk as land damage. Now its policy could mean further delays for homeowners.

Key said about 100 homes would require some land remediation.

"We'll need to work with the council about who pays for that remediation," Key said.

There was also a "wider issue" for about 1000 homes in the area and the council had to ensure it had a good plan for proper drainage.

Key said the council had responsibility for a remediation plan.

Flockton Basin properties, including residents' group spokeswoman Jo Byrne's, would be subject to geotechnical assessments, he said.

"I'm not a technical expert but I've read the reports and the reports indicate that in the case of Jo Byrne's house, the vulnerability to flooding, as I understood it, hasn't actually changed dramatically as a result of the earthquake."

Byrne's house has flooded, to varying extents, 15 times since the February 2011 earthquake and the family abandoned it after the March floods.

Dalziel said EQC had not consulted the council before contacting 9000 homeowners informing them of their IFV status.

She said aerial surveying using LiDAR was not a "good enough basis for classifying land damage".

"But this is all going to be decided in court."

Dalziel said EQC took a more narrow approach to how it measured land damage than the council.

"They measure increased vulnerability to flooding caused only by damage to land that the house is on, but we measure increased vulnerability to flooding across the earthquake-related damage and earthquake-related damage has caused the flooding in that area, no question."

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- The Press

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