Geotechnical reports used in key zoning decisions released

MICHAEL WRIGHT AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2012

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Cantabrians who object to their land zoning will not be able to get a further review following the release of the information behind the Government's decisions.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) yesterday released the geotechnical reports on which it based land-zoning decisions for quake-damaged flat land.

The information, which shows the mapping of ground cracking, liquefaction and lateral spread, is available on Cera's website.

The Government red-zoned 7354 residential flat-land properties based on the information, deeming the land uneconomic to repair.

Several attempts were made last year to obtain the information, including one by The Press, but the Government refused, saying it would need "substantial collation".

It promised to make the information public once zonings and a review process were complete.

A Cera spokeswoman said residents could not use the data to challenge their zoning or request another review.

"The previous comment, 'this is it', still stands," she said. The information was collated from several sources, including the Earthquake Commission, and was finalised yesterday, the spokeswoman said.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the information was "quite technical" and efforts had been made to simplify it.

"It [the data] may help people understand why the damage on their land is considered feasible to address individually, as opposed to the residential red-zone areas which would have required more complicated area-wide remediation solutions.”

Kairaki resident Tim Stephenson, who applied unsuccessfully to have his property rezoned green last month, tried to obtain the data from Cera last year under the Official Information Act.

It was too early to say if yesterday's release would lead to any action, he said.

"I'll take a look at it [the reports] and probably get an engineer to take a look as well. We've just got to be looking at the future, really, and what we can change and what we can't."

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman MP Lianne Dalziel said the information left people with "more questions than answers". "I strongly disapprove of this process of just announcing stuff without support for people. Most of us aren't experts in this area and things like this need to be explained.

"I totally agree with the release [but] it's not timely and it's not supported."

The Christchurch City Council last night said it would today release seven GNS reports on risks from rockfalls and cliff collapse on the Port Hills.

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- The Press

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