Flood-prone may get cash to lift homes

LOIS CAIRNS AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 12:10 31/07/2014
Lianne Dalziel
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ
SOLUTIONS NEEDED: Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she knew of two people who were required to repair their homes now or they would risk losing their insurance cover.

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The city council is considering giving flood-prone property owners up to $20,000 towards the cost of raising their homes as an interim measure to protect them from flooding.

It is concerned a small number of people in areas of increased flooding vulnerability are being forced to push ahead with repairs to their homes despite the fact there is not yet any solution to the flooding problems.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she knew of two people who were required to repair their homes now or they would risk losing their insurance cover.

Lifting their homes, which were already stripped, would help protect them from flooding and improve their situation until a permanent solution could be found.

"There is an unwillingness in the insurance industry to delay repairs even though there is a lot of work still to be done in these [flood-prone] areas,'' Dalziel said.

In a report presented to the council, chief executive Dr Kareen Edwards said that under the Resource Management Act a consent to raise the floor level within a flood-management area would need to consider:

- A one-in-200-year rainfall event;

- A 16 per cent buffer for a two-degree temperature rise;

- A 500-millimetre sea-level rise by the end of the century; and

- A 400mm freeboard allowance.

While that might be reasonable for a new development, it would be an expensive solution for existing homes in established neighbourhoods.

Only around 60 per cent of homes were likely to be suitable for lifting and they would end up looking unusually elevated compared with neighbouring properties, Edwards said.

Despite those concerns she and the mayor said it was an option worth pursuing until an engineered solution was in place.

"Some of these residents are being forced to proceed with their repairs now. Lifting their properties will take them out of the area of risk they face now, thus improving their situation,'' Edwards said.

A full report on the ramifications of providing affected property owners with financial assistance will be presented to the council on August 14.

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