Waimakariri red zones in limbo

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014
Rangiora
Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers.

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Development and infrastructure decisions are on hold in Waimakariri as the community waits for information about the future use of red zones, the district's mayor says.

David Ayers said the effects of the residential red zones in Kaiapoi, The Pines and Kairaki Beach were still being "widely felt" in the region.

Speaking at a community forum in Christchurch, Ayers said it was "vital that we get some resolution" about what the red zones might be used for.

"A higher proportion of Waimakariri households were red-zoned than was the case for Christchurch. We're talking about a fifth of Kaiapoi and it's had a significant impact on that town."

Ayers told The Press he "definitely hopes" a decision will be made before the end of the year but Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said it could be longer than that.

Ayers said his council had infrastructure decisions to make, such as installing pump stations in the red zones because it was an efficient use of space, but "we still don't have an answer".

Some parts of the Kaiapoi red zones close to the edge of the town centre could be used for car parking but no plans could be developed while the future use of the land remained up in the air.

The suburbs were "a real mess", he said.

Ayers said Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority officials were "starting to apply their minds to the future of the red zones" but no time frame had been given.

"It's important to us that decisions are made because the community need to have some certainty . . . and infrastructure is a big issue too."

He believed people would welcome large reserves - "or even a dog park for Kaiapoi" - and he hoped there would be community consultation before decisions were made.

Brownlee said the process of engaging with the public would start this year in both Christchurch and Waimakariri.

"But there's still people who haven't moved out of their houses and some are staying . . . that has to be taken into consideration and there's a body of information needed about the condition of the land before any [future] use is determined," he said.

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- The Press

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