Call to relocate red zone houses

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 16:40 10/12/2013

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The council's housing committee will ask the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to identify red-zoned homes suitable for relocation.

However, Cera says it already makes red-zoned homes available for use and about 300 have been relocated.

The Christchurch City Council committee will also ask Cera to identify houses that contain valuable recyclable materials, buildings that are suitable to remain onsite as temporary housing and ones with character and heritage value.

Council staff will identify land that could potentially be used for the relocation of houses to create affordable housing.

The move follows heart-felt pleas from concerned residents, including a former mayor, who fear good housing stock is being needlessly destroyed.

Addressing today's housing committee meeting, former mayor Garry Moore said the relocation of red zone houses was an opportunity to create affordable housing for those who needed it.

"This is what we need. The community desires it."

He stressed this would not be a threat to contractors who were set up to demolish red-zoned houses as not every house would be suitable for relocation.

A Cera spokesman told The Press the opportunity already existed for relocation of suitable red zone houses to be relocated.

"In more than 300 cases this has already been done or is in the process.

"Where someone identifies a Crown-owned property or properties they are interested in relocating, they can contact CERA or the related insurer - depending on which option the former property owner chose to sell under - and this can then be worked through."

The Cera spokesman added that where red zone properties were demolished, the vast majority of material was recycled - "often in excess of 90 per cent".

Christchurch businessman Mark Belton said the city was in a "housing crisis".

"In the red zone a shark feeding frenzy of demolition contractors is smashing its way through the housing stock," he said.

"This rush to destruction is a concern for those who want to see as many of these houses as possible relocated, or for there to be recovery of valuable materials, such as native timbers, from houses that are not suited for reuse."

Belton said housing should be recovered where practical for emergency and short-term housing.

A demolition "death warrant" should only be put on a house once it had been checked for its suitability to be relocated and any valuable material stripped out, he said.

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- The Press

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