Association opposes suggested District Plan Amendment
28 November 2018
Christchurch Residents’ Association opposes suggested District Plan Amendment
The South Brighton Residents’ Association, representing one of the areas worst hit by the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in 2010 and 2011, has written to Hon Megan Woods, Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, opposing an amendment to the Christchurch District Plan requested by the Christchurch City Council.
The proposed change would remove a crucial section from the District Plan relating to the High Flood Hazard Management area in Christchurch. It would affect a large portion of the lowest-lying coastal suburbs and allow rebuilding at lower floor levels, thereby increasing flood risk in an area that is already in the vanguard of climate change because of earthquake subsidence (up to 1.0 m in places).
SBRA Chairman, Hugo Kristinsson, sees the proposed amendment as just another step in the Christchurch City Council’s retreat from the coastal suburbs: "If there is no protection against the future hazards, insurance cover and mortgages will become unavailable. We already have people living in containers, tiny houses and buses. If this trend continues, we will see a steady degradation in the standard of housing in coastal areas."
He adds that the Christchurch City Council has allowed houses to be rebuilt based on future ‘assumptions’ about flood protection measures. Furthermore, inaccurate maps from the council showing a break in the flood risk in South Brighton along the lowest-lying land in the entire city, are apparently being used by international insurance companies.
The residents’ association is calling for engineered protection for the Brighton Peninsula to protect against flooding and erosion. Failing that, if the authorities believe that such protection is unaffordable or impracticable, SBRA believes they should tell residents without delay what the future strategy is and implement a policy of “adaptive management” or “managed retreat”. What is unconscionable, Kristinsson believes, is to leave people in an endless limbo after what they have already been though in the earthquakes.
He points out that the Canterbury Earthquakes Symposium is being held this week on 29 and 30 November at the University of Canterbury. “The stated focus of the Symposium is on ensuring that we learn from the Canterbury experience and that we can apply those learnings,” he says. “In South Brighton, there have been repeated examples of regulations being completely ignored based on imaginary protection measures, such as a seawall and a stop bank. It is clear from our experience here that the authorities have no wish to learn anything. The victims of the recovery, ordinary New Zealanders, have been excluded from participation in the Symposium”.
About the South Brighton Residents’
The SBRA was established in 2012 following the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in one of the worst affected suburbs in Christchurch. Since then, it has met with and lobbied the various authorities involved in the “recovery”, including the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, the Earthquake Comission, the Insurance Council of New Zealand, Land Information New Zealand, the Ministry of Justice, Regenerate Christchurch, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission and many more, in attempts to have various omissions, injustices and abuses addressed.