Public must wait for new flood data

PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 05:00 17/08/2012

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Thousands of residents in Christchurch's most flood-prone suburbs will have to wait weeks to get new flood information that the city council has already given to insurance companies.

A source told The Press this week that a new flood management map of the city had been drawn up to include crucial survey data on where land had risen or sunk after the February 2011 earthquake.

That information had now been given to insurance companies for analysis, but affected residents were still in the dark, the source said.

A council spokeswoman said yesterday that there was no new map. The most recent map to be released was that produced in January 2011.

However, she confirmed the council had updated the flood modelling data and that the new data had been released to insurers last week, but not to residents yet.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) was aware of the Lidar (optical remote sensing technology) data. A spokesman said it had been looking at the "implications of changed ground surface levels following the February 2011 earthquake from Lidar surveys".

In answer to written questions, city council regulation and democracy services general manager Peter Mitchell said flood modelling data enabled the council to set floor levels for building work across the city.

"Updating this data is a prudent step for the council to take to ensure accurate building levels," he said. "The council has been involved in developing this information to be accessible on a website so any landowner can see the data relevant to their own property.

"It will also assist insurers in the settlement of claims."

The draft data had been given to insurance companies first "to enable them to be in a position to properly advise their customers".

"A public release of the information will be made available in a few weeks," he said. The Press understands that could still be four to six weeks away.

The Press asked the council whether residents affected by the new flood information would be issued with hazard notices if they applied for resource consent for rebuilding or repair work.

Mitchell said the council considered hazard notices in "rare circumstances and only with the agreement of the landowner". The impact of that on the ability to sell or insure properties was a matter for insurers, he said.

AFFECTED AREAS

The flood management area includes: Land around the Avon River from parts of Fendalton and Merivale through the city centre and wide stretches along the river's lower reaches to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

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Brooklands. Halswell and the fringes of the Heathcote River through southern and southeastern Christchurch to the Estuary. Parts of Redcliffs, Moncks Bay and Sumner.

- The Press

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