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Canterbury Communities' Earthquake Recovery Network

Canterbury Communities' Earthquake Recovery Network media release

Canterbury residents in severely earthquake damaged areas have taken matters into their own hands and formed a network to improve communications between leading earthquake related agencies and frustrated communities.

Canterbury Communities’ Earthquake Recovery Network (CanCERN) was established by members of community organisations seeking a more efficient process of communication and some assurance that residents and small business owners would have a say in the rebuild of their area. The group, which currently has representation from fifteen suburbs, has been meeting over the last two months to form a communication network that aims to counteract the rumours which abound and provide communities with timely and factual information.

“This network is about facilitating efficient, accurate and timely two-way information flow between communities and earthquake recovery agencies” said CanCERN Chair, Tom McBrearty. “People have been confused and frustrated throughout this whole traumatic experience and we felt that the communication needs of those people was better led by the communities where people live, meet together and share their ideas.”

CanCERN has identified objectives and priorities which are the common key concerns coming out of community meetings regularly being held in the damaged communities.

“We hear the same things over and over again,” said McBrearty. “People are worried about how they are meant to pay rent and mortgage when their accommodation insurance money runs out and they want to know that they will get more than a patch job on their houses. It’s hugely important that people have confidence in the recovery process and CanCERN aims to provide that.”

The network aims to support communities with their immediate needs but also focus on the longer term strategic direction of community rebuilding. “Communities are very solutions focused,” says McBrearty. “They want to be engaged in the process and leave legacies that their children and grandchildren can be proud of.”

CanCERN has met with Mayor Bob Parker and Christchurch City Council Councillors and has been briefed by EQC. They plan meeting with all key decision makers in the coming weeks to discuss how engagement partnerships and communication mechanisms can be established to enhance the earthquake recovery process.


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