Services to stay on in red zone - for now

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 06:18 25/01/2014

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The Christchurch City Council says it has no fixed date when it will stop providing essential services to occupied homes in the residential red zone.

Next Friday is the final settlement date for homeowners in the flat-land residential red zone who have accepted Crown offers on their properties, but about two dozen homeowners have indicated they want to remain in their properties longer.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has indicated it will give people 14 days' grace, but beyond that it will charge homeowners still in their properties daily penalty interest, which will be deducted from final settlement payments.

The council's city environment acting general manager, Terry Howes, said the council was working closely with Cera as red-zone offers were accepted, people moved out and demolitions were completed.

Water and waste services were being shut off to vacant properties owned by the Crown, but the council would continue to provide services to properties where people were living.

"The cost of providing these temporary services to individual households is around 18 times the usual cost-per- household for water, waste and roading," Howe said.

Figures released by Cera put the cost of keeping services running to homes at about $500 a week per occupied house.

At present, the estimated upkeep will cost just under $1 million each month. That will reduce as homes are vacated.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the cost of maintaining infrastructure in the red zone for a small number of homes was not viable long term. "That's just looking at it from a numbers perspective.

"The council also has to take into account issues like water quality. With such a massive decline in the demand for running water, there is less of it moving through the damaged pipes, so a greater chance of water stagnating."

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- The Press

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