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Next steps for properties on the hill

Next steps for properties on the hill

Council’s role in managing the after effects of the land subsidence is first to ensure the safety of the affected residents and neighbouring properties.

The private owners of each house have lodged claims with the Earthquake Commission and the site is under assessment from EQC and their geotechnical engineers as to if and when the families are able to return.

“We believe there were 6 people from 3 families that self evacuated on Saturday afternoon, under the supervision of EQC and their geotechnical consultants,” says Ian Petty, Gisborne District Council Building and Consents Manager.

“We understand that the families have been working with their insurers and EQC on compensation for suitable alternate accommodation. It won’t be until the geotech engineers are satisfied the movement has ceased and there is no risk to the dwellings that the families may be able to return.”

Once they have completed their assessment any building consent application for remedial works will be submitted to council, accompanied by a detailed geotechnical report and design for the sites.

Council will have the design peer reviewed with an independent consultant and if there are no issues a consent to authorise the required works is likely to be issued.

“Council will expedite this process to ensure it occurs in a timely manner for the home owners.”

“It should be noted that not all remedial works will require a building consent. For example the deep horizontal drains that are currently being installed do not fall under the definition of building work.” Says Ian Petty.

The cause of the slip is still unknown but contractors are dealing immediately with sub-surface water to stop further degradation of the site.

The two newer houses built in 2008, were granted building consent by Council after geotechnical reports that accompanied the applications had been peer reviewed by the independent consultant Council uses.

The houses were built in compliance with all the recommended foundation and structural conditions placed on the consents, including consenting of water discharge down to the Valley road stream. “Stormwater collected from the house is piped down to the Valley road stream.”

“A prior EQC claim for movement under an unconsented retaining wall at number 34 and subsequent escarpment in front of the house had been underway since June, the assessment by EQC engineers reported no danger to dwellings.” Says Ian Petty.

Consents to repair the retaining wall were then issued by council under section 72 of the building act.

Gisborne District Council Chief Executive, Judy Campbell says she is confident staff have done all they can to ensure safe practices have been followed.

"Council relies on the technical advice of reports supplied by external experts and in complex situations has them peer reviewed. That practice was followed in this situation."


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