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Port Hills risk notices replaced

Friday 2 September 2011

Port Hills risk notices replaced

Christchurch City Council staff and contractors will be working in the
Port Hills next week to review the status of notices due to expire that
prohibit entry to homes.

Around 500 Civil Defence red placards were issued on the Port Hills as a
result of geotechnical work after 22 February. These expired on 12 July
and the majority were replaced with notices prohibiting entry to homes
under section 124 of the Building Act because of rockfall or other
geotechnical hazards.

Council General Manager Regulation and Democracy Peter Mitchell says it
is likely that the majority of these will once again be replaced when
they expire next week because of the extreme risk involved.

"The replacement process will be carried out over several days next
week. It is important that residents adhere to these notices for their
own safety; the notices will be enforced," Mr Mitchell says.

If new risks are identified to any further homes by geotechnical
engineers while this replacement process is underway, it is possible
that new notices will be issued. If this is necessary, residents will
first be contacted by Council staff and geotechnical engineers who will
explain the situation and potential danger.

"The Council is awaiting the result of geotechnical reports before
decisions are made regarding the reoccupation of houses. Decisions will
be made with input from a number of organisations through a robust
process that has the safety of people and their homes as its main aim,"
Mr Mitchell says.

The process underway right now is as follows: there are three different
reports being prepared by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear
Sciences (GNS). These reports cover:

* the extent of the land issues;
* the probability of future events;
* exposure to risk for people living in and passing through rock
and cliff collapse hazard areas including recommendations on the
reoccupation of houses that have received notices prohibiting entry
under section 124 of the Building Act.

These reports consider the wider issues affecting large areas of the
hills and are not designed to assess individual properties. Once
completed, they will be reviewed by the Port Hills Geotechnical Group -
a group of engineers contracted to the Council to assess geotechnical
damage in the hills and coordinate remediation work - then peer reviewed
by an international expert.

Recommendations will then be presented to the Council and the Canterbury
Earthquake Recovery Authority for a decision to be made on the
reoccupation of homes. This decision is expected to be some months away.


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