EQC settlement holding up repairs
The Christchurch City Council is trying to reach a global settlement with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) so it can speed up the repair and rebuild of its quake-damaged social housing units.
EQC has already advanced the council a lump sum of $21 million, but with all but 27 of the council's 2649 units sustaining damage in the quakes, the council believes it is entitled to more.
However, reaching agreement with EQC on the cost of repairing each individual unit is proving time-consuming so now the council is investigating whether it can reach a global settlement with the commission, council community services general manager Michael Aitken confirmed yesterday.
It was taking advice from Housing New Zealand, which had been able to fast-track the repair and rebuild of its damaged housing stock after reaching a global settlement with its insurer, and had engaged the same legal team.
One formal meeting with EQC to discuss a global settlement had already taken place and the council expected to have a second meeting shortly, Aitken said.
It was in the interests of both the council and EQC to get a settlement as both organisations had significant resources tied up in assessing the damage to the units.
When asked how much difference a settlement would make to the speed at which the council units could be repaired or rebuilt, Aitken said: "It would make a massive difference. It would take away a massive step in the process."
EQC chief executive Ian Simpson said it was working closely with the council on joint assessments on housing complexes and had offered a global settlement, which the council was considering.
The council has come under repeated fire from Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee for the slow pace at which it has been repairing its damaged housing units. To date it has repaired only 176 units.
Amongst those affected is Paul Wakefield who lived in the council-owned Calbourne Courts on Hulverstone Drive for 12 years before being issued with a 90-day eviction notice in July. The 26-unit complex is in the red zone.
Latest figures show council has:
355 open units and 124 closed units scheduled for demolition and replacement.
1648 open units and 206 closed units being assessed for repair and replacement.
113 units in the residential red zone.
27 units with no damage.