Resident defiant despite red sticker

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 23/08/2012
  	 Phil Elmey
DEAN KOZNIAC/Fairfax NZ
STAYING POWER: Phil Elmey has built a wall to protect his red-stickered Sumner property from rock fall and has no intention to move.
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Should residents be allowed to stay in their home even if it has been red-stickered and their land red-zoned?

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A Christchurch man who once vowed to only leave his rockfall-threatened home "in handcuffs" is still refusing to go even though his land has been written off.

Phil Elmey ignored threats of court-ordered eviction after his Sumner home was red-stickered after the February 2011 earthquake because of rockfall risk.

The civil engineer and builder told The Press in November he believed the house was safe and would have to be removed from his home by force.

Elmey yesterday stood by his view despite being red zoned recently.

The Port Hills Limes group he helped form was "pretty staunch" in not accepting the zoning decision, he said.

"We intend to just stay in our home until such time we're physically evicted.

"I'm seeing so much injustice happening here, I'm not prepared to end the fight yet."

A rockfall analysis had been completed before the construction of a protective fence behind his house, Elmey said.

"We sleep below a 200-millimetre-thick reinforced concrete slab. If there is an earthquake, we go downstairs," he said.

"There's a rationale why we stay where we are. We are safe here."

The Limes group was concerned that the zoning information supplied to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was incorrect. However, life-risk data could not be disputed because the information had not been released.

"A lot of houses that were hit by rocks have gone green and a lot of houses that haven't had rocks anywhere near them have gone red," Elmey said.

"There seems to be some anomalies between their modelling and the real world."

He was "gobsmacked" by the information being given to residents at Port Hills community meetings this week.

"It's very hard to believe there's any good, rational engineering basis behind some of that stuff. We know there is disagreement among the engineers who have been involved in this process."

Elmey hoped a "politically suitable" solution could be found that would allow him to say.

"We're not asking them to spend lots of money on us, we'll spend the money ourselves if we have to. We just want to stay where are."

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority project manager John Scott said rockfall acceleration measured in the Port Hills after the February 22, 2011, quake was up to two times that of gravity.

Up to 10,000 boulders had come down in Christchurch since February 2011, he said.

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- The Press

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