Hill residents given three weeks

Last updated 14:28 09/10/2012
Port Hills red zones

RED ZONED: Port Hills home owners have until October 26 to apply for a review.

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A decision to not consider land remediation in the Port Hills zoning review process is an ''offensive slap in the face'' for affected homeowners, a Christchurch MP says.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced the review would look at the boundaries used to identify residential red and green zones.

It did not review the Christchurch City Council-issued section 124 notices, which barred entry to homes, or any individual mitigation options.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said the review process showed the ''gaping hole'' between the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and the council that residents were falling into.

"The announcement that the Port Hills zoning will not look at either S124 notices or individual mitigation is an offensive slap in the face for Port Hills residents who have been relying on fairness and common sense being applied to their situation,'' she said.

''This decision is fundamental to the well-being and lives of these families. They deserve to have these issues considered properly, not carved up and passed between the two bodies.''

Dyson urged Brownlee and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker to come together to stop the ''nonsense''.

''Their inability to co-ordinate their work is stressing families and destroying communities,'' she said.

''It is easy to resolve. It needs goodwill and leadership and I urge the minister and the mayor to make this resolution a priority.''

Red-zoned Sumner resident Phil Elmey, who has refused to leave his red-stickered home, said the review was a ''non-event''.

He was unlikely to apply and would instead appeal to the Department of Building and Housing to void the section 124 notice, barring occupation of his home.

''The minister's made it really hard for us to move on with getting our section 124s (red stickers) off because the red-zoning casts a complete aspersion on the whole [property],'' Elmey said.

''It leaves the people who do want to stay in limbo, with regard to insurance, repairs and people who may want to sell their properties to someone other than the Government. It just leaves a whole lot of unanswered questions.''

It was clear the Government wanted red-zoners to ''take the buyout and go away'', he said.

''There's lots of people who aren't going to do that and Cera and the city council seem to be saying to each other, 'It's your problem, not ours'."

Property owners have until October 26 to apply for a review, with the exception of eight Lucas Ln property owners still to be zoned.

As with the flat land review, the Port Hills zoning review panel will be chaired by Keith Turner.

It will include public policy and legal experts from Cera, an independent geotechnical engineer who had no involvement in previous zoning decisions, and a city council representative.The review will be completed in December.

Those seeking a review should apply by emailing info@cera.govt.nz or by calling 0800 RING CERA.

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- The Press


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