Red-zoning 'just doesn't make sense'

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 09:16 21/02/2013
Bob Gordon
Dean Kozanic

PUZZLED: Bob Gordon with a dog Star stand above the two disputed red-zone homes.

George Johnson
Dean Kozanic
BATTLING TO STAY: George Johnson and his wife wanted to retire in their Lyttelton home.

Relevant offers

Christchurch Earthquake 2011

A city treasury of visual culture Quake payout doubles Skellerup profits QEII site gets nod for $30m sports centre Videos to cheer up quake-weary Cantabrians Cathedral advocates 'appalled' at comparisons Patience needed to change an insurer's view Where to next for our sinking city? Bravery of quake rescuers recognised Does Christchurch have a rat problem? Approach to Key advances EQC claim

Port Hills red-zoners are questioning why the Government is paying nearly $1 million for two properties experts believe can be protected for a fraction of the cost.

George Johnson and Bob Gordon's homes were the only occupied properties in Lyttelton's Gilmour Tce zoned red in June last year because of rockfall risk.

Neighbours were issued section 124 notices, which barred entry on safety grounds, after the February 2011 earthquake but Johnson and Gordon were not.

The pair were stunned when their properties were later written off and the others zoned green.

The Press reported in December that a Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) report found the risk to the two properties, which have a combined rateable value of $1m, could be mitigated for $100,000.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee decided against rockfall protection measures across the Port Hills, but the city councillors later voted to consider individual options.

"It begs the question, why the hell would you spend the other $900,000?" Johnson said.

"It just doesn't make sense."

He and Gordon have challenged the decision and are waiting for the result of a Cera zoning review of 141 Port Hills properties, expected this month.

Rocks above the street were tied back with cables and mesh before the June 2011 earthquake, which Cera officials found did not reduce life risk.

No rocks fell into either the section during the February quake or significant aftershocks in June and December 2011.

Vegetation on the slope has provided protection but was not considered in the zoning process.

"Both Bob's and my property have quite a few trees above our houses and let's face it if a rock the size of a car came down nothing's going to stop it, but we haven't had a pebble come into our [property]," Johnson said.

He and Gordon were considering individual protection work, but with Brownlee having ruled out green-zoning mitigated properties and the red zone deemed uninsurable, the benefits were questionable.

"It's a lovely house and I want to retire here. This has been a long-term plan," Johnson said.

Cera chief geotechnical engineer Jan Kupec told The Press this month red-zone decisions had been internationally peer-reviewed.

"Yes, there are properties in the red zone that haven't been impacted [by rocks]. The word you're looking for is 'yet'," he said.

Ad Feedback

- The Press

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the Canterbury Provincial Council buildings be restored?

Yes, they are NZ's best example of high Victorian gothic revival architecture.

Only if the cost can be brought down.

No, $70 million could be used for more important things.

Vote Result

Related story: Provincial chambers repair bill $70m

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content