Red-zoners find a way to stay

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 21/05/2012
Southshore resident Richard Logchies is considering swapping his house for another rather than leaving the area.
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
NOT LEAVING: Southshore resident Richard Logchies is considering swapping his house for another rather than leaving the area.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Red-zoned Southshore homeowners desperate to retain waterfront vistas are considering house-swapping with their green-zoned neighbours.

More than 400 long-suffering residents in the east Christchurch suburb finally learned their fate last Friday.

One hundred and ninety-eight of the 401 properties closest to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary were red-zoned and the remaining 203 declared Technical Category (TC) 3-green, meaning their land was considered the most badly quake-damaged able to be economically repaired.

Southshore resident Richard Logchies was zoned red, but immediately consulted his insurance company about the possibility of a house-swap with his neighbour Clare Collins, who was keen to move out of her house despite being zoned green-blue.

"I don't want to leave. I love this place," Logchies said. "[The Collinses] are keen to leave, so there must be something possible."

The idea was simple in theory, but taking over the other property's insurance claim could be a sticking point, he said.

His insurance company's view on a swap was "vague".

"It's early days and they don't know what to do yet. It's a bit of a grey area.

"We are keen and we think it's still possible, but insurance will have the last say."

Collins said she was open to the idea, but had been unable to contact her insurance company.

"Richard's quite happy to sit in our broken house for 10 years, or however long it's going to take to fix, whereas my issue is the time frame.

"I still like living there, but my kids are quite little and I don't want them living in a house like that," she said.

Southshore resident Peter Knight said yesterday he was "gutted" to be red-zoned and was on the hunt for a green-zoned house in the area.

He expected the plan would have "huge complications".

"It's just an idea we've got, but it will be a long road even if we find somewhere.

"It's so new to us, we haven't explored all the complications, and I'm sure there'll be many."

Canterbury Community Earthquake Recovery Network spokeswoman Leanne Curtis said house-swapping had been approved by insurers when discussed last year as part of the first red zone announcements.

A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spokeswoman said the authority had no official position on land-swapping, but Government red-zone offers could be made to insured homeowners only.

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- The Press

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