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Zoning decisions give Port Hills residents greater certainty

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17 AUGUST 2012

Latest zoning decisions give Port Hills residents greater certainty

Today's Government announcement on zoning in the Port Hills has given
greater certainty for residents of 126 properties to begin to plan for
the future, says Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) today announced 121
homes in the Port Hills white zone will be re-zoned red and five
properties will be rezoned green, leaving 37 properties white as
investigations continue into possible mitigation measures in the
Horotane Valley and Bridle Path Road areas.

Of the 37, six are in the Horotane Valley and 31 on Bridle Path Road
where the relatively large nature of the properties means further
investigation is required.

"I acknowledge it has been a difficult 18 months for homeowners as they
have waited for decisions about the land and the impact this would have
on their homes and lives. These latest zoning decisions mean only a
handful of property owners remain in limbo," says Christchurch Mayor Bob
Parker.

"These remaining property owners can be reassured work is continuing as
quickly as possible to confirm a suitable solution to protect their
property and enable them to make informed decisions.

"This has been a difficult time and I thank everyone for their patience.
It has been critical to take the time to make the right decisions as it
is people's lives we have been looking to protect, as well as their most
valuable asset," Mr Parker says.

He says the Council at its meeting earlier this week agreed to share
equally with the Government the cost of buying the red-zoned properties
in the Port Hills affected by rockfall. The Government is fully funding
the red zone properties impacted by cliff collapse

"The cost to the Council for the rockfall properties is estimated to be
about $58 million - however the final cost may change as a result of
CERA's review process. There is $55 million in this year's budget to
fund our commitments in the Port Hills, of which $22 million is already
committed to geotechnical work.

"The around $25 million shortfall is lower than originally discussed in
June as a result of further analysis and the expectation that around 20
per cent of the gross cost of the buy-out will be covered by
householder's insurance claims. The Council is confident this cost can
be met through our financial strategy for earthquake response and
recovery costs, set out in this year's Annual Plan.

"The Annual Plan sets aside a 1.82 per cent rate increase over five
years to repay borrowing for earthquake response and recovery. In the
Annual Plan, this increase over five years will generate enough ongoing
revenue to repay the debt in 20 years. The additional funds required to
cover our contribution to the Port Hills red zone will mean it takes
slightly longer to repay that debt," Mr Parker says.

"What ratepayers need to understand is that the Council can afford this
cost and there is no additional cost for ratepayers beyond what has
already been levied as part of this year's Annual Plan."

Today's announcement has an impact on the Christchurch City
Council-managed section 124 notices issued for properties in the Port
Hills.

My house was re-zoned white to red today - what happens with my section
124 notice?
Section 124 notices will remain on all properties re-zoned white to red
today. There are 87 homes in this situation. The notices remain because
there is a geotech-identified risk from rockfall. CERA's decision on
acceptable levels of life risk has also found that it is not safe to
live in these areas.

My house is still zoned white -what happens with my section 124 notice?
Section 124 notices will remain on properties that are still in the
white zone. There are 26 homes in this situation. The Council will not
issue any new section 124 notices in this white zone as assessments are
still ongoing, unless new hazards are identified as a result of
aftershocks or weather events.

Existing green zone properties with section 124 notices
If your house has previously been zoned green by CERA and you have been
issued with a section 124 notice, this will remain in place: today's
announcements do not change the status of your property. Property owners
have the right to seek a review of their zoning.

The Council will continue to work with CERA to address the geotechnical
issues in the Port Hills.

ends

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