Sixteen Port Hills properties to be bought

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 14:06 22/08/2014
Diane and Wayne Jamieson
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ

LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED: Diane and Wayne Jamieson on their property at Maffeys Road.

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Sixteen green-zoned properties on the Port Hills will be acquired by the council and the Government due to the high risk of landslides.

The homes in Quarry Rd, Maffeys Rd, Defender Ln, Cliff St and Deans Hd will be bought under the Public Works Act so remedial work can be done to protect another 21 properties where the risk to life from landslides is considered intolerable.

The council announced plans to purchase the properties today as it released the final in a series of GNS Science reports on mass movement in the Port Hills.

The reports, which are the results of months of detailed ground investigations and surface movement monitoring, identified 126 properties where there was intolerable life risk from landslides.

The bulk of those properties - 89 - have already been red-zoned due to the risk of rockfall or cliff collapse, but 37 are currently green-zoned.

The council believes it can save 21 of those properties if it buys 16 properties that lie further up the hillside, bulldozes them, and then undertakes engineering work to reduce the risk or consequences of landslides to houses and roads below.

''We are very mindful of the need to protect property and life but also to protect infrastructure,'' council chief planning officer Mike Theelen said yesterday as he outlined the council's planned approach.

Theelen said the plan was to acquire the 16 properties through negotiation, but if that failed they would be acquired compulsorily.

''This is not a voluntary offer. If we have to go through the compulsory route we will, but it is certainly not our desire to do so,'' said Theelen.

If compulsory acquisition was required it would likely be at the 2007 rating value.

Acquiring the properties and doing the remediation work is expected to cost around $17 million. That cost will be split equally between the Crown and the council.

Theelen said only four of the 16 properties earmarked for acquisition were currently occupied.

''For those people who are residing in their properties we've been at pains to point out that while the risk they have is intolerable, there is not an imminent risk to them and they are able to remain in their properties at present.

''We are monitoring known mass-movement areasm and if there is a change in the behaviour of the slope and increased risk to people's safety, we will act swiftly,'' Theelen said.

''This may mean people may need to leave their property at short notice.''

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she appreciated that the decisions the council had made would significantly affect people's lives.

''While this news is very welcome for some, it is upsetting for others and we will be supporting all these Port Hills residents in the coming months. I am delighted we can work with the Crown to fund engineering solutions to see as many people as possible remain in their homes," she said.

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- The Press

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