Thousands face delay in starting quake rebuilding

9:25 pm on 1 December 2010

More than 3000 property owners in Canterbury have been told their land needs a great deal of repair work before they can rebuild their homes following the earthquake on 4 September.

The Government on Wednesday released the second stage of the geotechnical assessment of quake-hit sections in the province.

More than 22,000 sections have been mapped, of which 3300 have severe land damage, 5500 have minor to moderate damage and nearly 14,000 are considered stable.

The report divides Canterbury into zones - with Zone C made up of 3300 properties which suffered the worst damage, in suburbs such as Burwood, Avonside, Bexley and Kaiapoi.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says rebuilding or repair of most of the homes can begin immediately.

However, owners of the severely damaged sections face a longer wait, as their land will need to be strengthened using stone columns, cement or gravel, he says.

The Government says in the worst case, some homes may not be completed until mid-2013. More exact time frames will be known early next year.

Lavina Pockson owns a damaged property in Bexley with her husband and three small children.

Ms Pockson says though they are facing a long wait, their situation is nothing in comparison to the Pike River Coal disaster in which 29 mine workers were killed after a series of explosions which began on 19 November.

"We're all okay. When you look at the people on the West Coast at the moment and the absolute horror that they are going through, we actually feel very lucky that this earthquake didn't cause any deaths.

"I know that any one of them would swap places with us any day."