Port Hills zoning review delayed again

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 14:31 28/05/2013

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A 28-month wait to determine the fate of more than 100 Port Hills homes has been labelled ''beyond ridiculous''.

The 132 rockfall-threatened property owners challenging their land zoning were yesterday advised by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) that an announcement would not be made before the end of this week as expected.

A revised time frame of mid to late June was given.

Review findings have been delayed at least twice since applications closed last October.

''We apologise for the delay and hope to provide you some certainty with final zoning decisions in the coming weeks,'' the Cera advisory said.

Homeowner Chris Benson said the delay was ''beyond ridiculous'' and proved ''beyond any doubt'' the original zoning decision was wrong.

''I am simply apoplectic,'' he said.

''This is about as dysfunctional as EQC [Earthquake Commission]. I thought it couldn't be that bad, but it is.''

A Cera spokeswoman conceded that the last advisory had been wrongly worded.

The work would be completed this week, but the review findings had to be signed off by the Cabinet before the decisions were released, which ''to a lay person isn't really obvious''.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton told The Press after the first delay in December that the analysis could not be rushed as it had to be ''methodical and deliberate''.

The review process included every Port Hills property, not just those for which a review had been sought.

Sumner resident John Cook, whose home is red-stickered, said a decision this month was ''always the expectation''.

''I'm just gutted. It's like, 'Here we go again; another deadline come and gone','' he said.

''Through no fault of our own we've been left waiting and dangling like a puppet on the end of a string.''

Port Hills red-zoners have until August 31 to accept a Government offer, but the Cera advisory said the deadline was being considered as part of the review.

The unresolved zoning had prevented Cook starting discussions with his insurer.

''I'm sure that will be trials and tribulations as well,'' he said.

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- The Press

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