Chopper finishes off Redcliffs demo
Hills and Harbour
Cliff-side red-zoned properties will be checked after the urgent demolition of an earthquake-damaged house at risk of collapsing.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) said today that about 200 homes in the area would be checked after wet weather and aftershocks made the Redcliffs home dangerously unstable.
The Balmoral Ln home yesterday teetered on the edge of the cliff face, threatening to collapse on to the road below.
Demolition of the property began last night and a helicopter with a monsoon bucket today dropped water on the site to remove any loose debris at risk of falling on to the road or nearby properties.
Cera Port Hills land clearance project manager Brenden Winder expected the hazardous debris would be removed this afternoon, allowing the road to reopen.
He said the demolition was the first of its kind.
"To put it in perspective, we've done, between us and the insurers, a couple of thousand demolitions, and this is the first one [like this]. So you're talking a fraction of a percentage."
Winder said about red-zoned homes in the area would be checked over the next few days to see if they were at risk of collapse.
Up to 12 of those had been identified as a priority.
"The majority of those we know aren't going to be anything like this risk. It's only those houses on the edge of a cliff that we need to be concerned about. They'll have similar circumstances as this,'' he said.
"We're expecting no more will be in a situation like this, but to be prudent we'll go and check those dozen or so houses.
"A number of the houses we now own sitting at the bottom of a cliff or in rock-roll danger, they won't be considered as a part of this."
Police cordoned off the area about 1pm yesterday before Cera staff began the urgent demolition.
Winder said officials had noticed the building was "pretty distressed" last week, and had been monitoring it.
He described the Port Hills environment as "dynamic", and with the reduced capacity of houses to stay structurally sound, buildings are "going to move".
If the house was not demolished immediately it would probably collapse on to the road below, he said.
One person was evacuated from their home yesterday and others trying to return to their homes below the property were turned away.
Sharlene Laskey had been home when Cera officials asked her leave.
She said she was "a bit blase" about potential danger in the area as she and her partner had moved in after the earthquakes.
"We weren't too worried, we do joke and laugh whether it's going to come down and whether the containers will stop it," she said.
If she was not allowed back into her house last night, she had "no idea" what she was going to do.
John Scott, who owned the unstable house, said he was "happy" to see it demolished.
"It is in the red zone and it had to come down at some stage and it is coming down now."
Neighbours were also glad to see its demise.
Main Rd resident Amanda Chivers, who lives inside the cordon set up yesterday, said the damaged cliff-top properties surrounding the area were "all a bit of an eyesore".
However, she and many other residents were unaware of the demolition. "We should know about this stuff before it's happening," she said.
Redcliffs resident Helen Brown watched with the gathering crowd as the house was picked apart.
"It's been on a lean and hasn't been stable for a long time. It's about time it came down," she said.
- The Press