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New information shows reduced risk from natural hazards

Kaikoura District Council staff and geotechnical experts are talking to residents of properties affected by natural hazards to gather feedback before making final decisions for the future.

Council Chief Executive Angela Oosthuizen says staff have been working with Central Government and other agencies over past months following 2017 assessments of earthquake-related land damage and geotechnical hazards.

“New technical assessments informed by a reduction in the likelihood of earthquakes, and knowledge gained from recent severe weather events, have given us a new understanding of these hazards.”

The Council is this week (beginning 10 September 2018) meeting with owners of properties that have been issued s124 notices prohibiting entry due to geotechnical hazards.

“We need to discuss the updated information with property owners affected by natural hazards, talk about how that might affect them, and find out their preferences for the future. The Council will consider the information we gather from residents alongside funding matters when making decisions about the future.

“We know this has been a long process and that property owners – many facing insurance and financial challenges – want to understand their options. We have been working through the process as quickly as possible but, given the complexity of the issues, this has taken some time,” she says.

The new information
New information indicates a reduced level of risk from geotechnical hazards across the region. In addition to information gathered from ongoing geotechnical assessments, the change is largely due to two factors:

• GNS seismic hazard modelling shows significantly reduced risk of another earthquake
A year ago, GNS modelling predicted a 40 per cent probability in the next year of another earthquake that would cause ground shaking and small-scale rock fall and landslips on steep slopes. That probability has now dropped to around 10 per cent in Kaikoura – almost back to the level it was before the earthquake.
• Severe weather events tested properties where hazard notices were issued
Three significant weather events have hit Kaikoura in recent times, testing the stability of slopes in heavy rainfall. The remnants of cyclones Debbie, Cook and Gita caused severe rainfall and large slips across the region. However, no significant further damage occurred to properties issued with geotechnical hazard notices. Experts have used this information as part of new assessments.

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