30 Apr 2014

Red-zoning ruled out for flooded properties

5:59 am on 30 April 2014

The mayor of Christchurch is ruling out red-zoning properties in the flood-prone Flockton Basin despite calls from some residents.

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Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

Following yet another storm which hit Christchurch on Tuesday, dozens of properties in the Flockton Basin were again inundated, in the fourth round of flooding residents have endured this year.

Many frustrated residents in the Flockton Basin are calling for the area to be red-zoned so they can leave it once and for all.

The already low-lying basin slumped further in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and has become increasingly susceptible to severe flooding.

Residents like Rose Lennon were forced out in early March when floodwaters were knee-deep in her living room. She says she wants the property red zoned.

Ms Lennon says the city council's $50 million plan to deepen and widen creeks in the area is at least two years away and that's too long to wait.

Another Flockton resident, Julie Cairns, who lives in the suburb of Mairehau, says her street was completely underwater and her front and back yards were flooded.

She says water started seeping into her sleepout and underneath her floorboards and her landline was cut.

Diane Shannon who also lives in Mairehau says the water flooded her street and reached a step outside her property.

"When I walk on my back lawn it's just like walking on jelly, it's just so full of water. That's the big problem it's just not getting time to dry out between soakings."

The flooding also forced the closure of 33 roads across the city and led the Heathcote River to break its banks.

A flooded house in the Flockton Basin.

A flooded house in the Flockton Basin. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

Red-zoning ruled out

Christchurch mayor Liane Dalziel says people affected have been led to believe red-zoning is an option, but it's not.

She says red-zoning was a convenient operational response to the earthquakes which the government announced and did not involve any compulsory acquisition of property.

The Christchurch City Council announced on Tuesday evening that it's set a two-week deadline for a taskforce to find immediate short-term solutions to the city's flooding problems.

Lianne Dalziel says it may take two years to deliver a long-term solution to the flooding problem, but that is too long for some residents.

She told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the council is working to have a report detailing immediate short-term options by 12 May.

Ms Dalziel says temporary relocation solutions may possibly include offering people a sum of money for their properties, as well as the installation of pumps, flood barriers, and flood-gates in flood-prone areas.

PM also turns down red-zone plea

Prime Minister John Key has turned down flooded homeowners' pleas to be red-zoned .

Mr Key who has been visiting Christchurch says the Government can't help until it receives a proposal from the council, which is the lead agency.

And he says he can't simply red zone entire areas.

Mr Key says the Government can begin exploring solutions as soon as it is briefed by the council.

Roads in and around the Flockton Basin are under water again.

Roads in and around the Flockton Basin are under water again. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

The Flockton area has suffered from increased flooding since the earthquakes.

The Flockton area has suffered from increased flooding since the earthquakes. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

More flooding for Flockton.

More flooding for Flockton. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

Christchurch's Avon River after heavy rain on Tuesday

Christchurch's Avon River after heavy rain on Tuesday Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg