Only half of red zone homes demolished

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014

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Demolition of the residential red zone needs to accelerate so all homes on the flat land can be cleared by the end-of-year target.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has missed its demolition targets, but promises that the pace of clearance will accelerate next month.

New clearance data provided by Cera shows that more than half of the red-zoned houses have been demolished.

Figures up to March 4 show that 3920 homes have been demolished, with 3919 to go.

In October last year, Cera hoped to be demolishing 400 homes a month by the end of 2013. In November last year, 295 homes were demolished and 182 were demolished in December.

Cera still hopes to meet the target of 5000 homes demolished on flat land by June, with the remainder of flat-land homes demolished by the end of the year.

Port Hills clearance will take until the end of 2015 at the earliest.

Cera operations general manager John Cumberpatch said it needed to demolish 300 homes a month to clear flat-land homes by the end of the year.

''We are still on target for the end of the year,'' he said.

''We have got everything in line.''

He said the pace of demolition would increase and he expected to hit the 300 target next month.

He said more project managers had been enlisted at Cera, while administration for demolition clearance was getting faster.

The number of homes released for demolition by insurance firms was also accelerating, he said.

''We are getting more homes on a more regular basis.''

"It wasn't all lined up as well as it might have been. If we don't start kicking in soon, our weekly rate will go up.''

The average number of homes demolished every month was 182 in 2013 and 111 in 2012.

The target of 300 homes demolished in one month has been met only once - last August.

Several red-zoned suburbs are now more than half demolished.

About 53 per cent of red- zoned houses in Bexley have been demolished, compared with  about 59 per cent in Burwood, but only about 5 per cent in the Heathcote Valley.

Red-zoned houses in the Port Hills are proving harder to demolish than on the flat land.

Only about a dozen Port Hills homes have been demolished.

Rockfall risks, unsafe land and access problems make demolition very dangerous.

''It is as complex as we first thought,'' said Cumberpatch.

Cera has experimented with remote-controlled demolition equipment and other demolition techniques. 

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- The Press

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