28 Aug 2015

Chch residents protest coastal hazard zoning

6:16 am on 28 August 2015

Hundreds of Christchurch residents have vowed to fight the city council on its coastal hazard zoning decisions, which they say will devalue their properties and be a breach of people's rights.

New Brighton Beach

New Brighton Beach Photo: Supplied

On the basis of a report by environment and engineering firm Tonkin and Taylor, more than 18,000 properties throughout the city have been identified as being in coastal erosion and coastal inundation zones.

These properties now have this vulnerability stated on their Land Information Memorandums.

New Brighton property owner Mark Munro said he had been told by the council that unless he rebuilt on his $500,000 section within two years, he would not be able to build on it at all.

The section used to house a property that was destroyed in the earthquakes, and has subsequently been released.

Mr Munro said the land was "now worthless", and said residents and landowners were only just starting to realise the effects of the coastal hazard zones.

He is the chairman of the newly-formed Christchurch Coastal Residents United (CCRU) group and said the council has "declared war" on residents.

He said because the process was being fast-tracked under special earthquake legislation, appeal rights would not apply once decisions were finalised.

Mr Munro said some homeowners had already struggled to obtain insurance because of the new zones.

Redcliffs and Sumner suffered major damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Redcliffs and Sumner suffered major damage in the Canterbury earthquakes. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Christchurch City councillor David East was the only councillor to vote against the recommendations of the Tonkin and Taylor report.

Mr East addressed residents at the meeting last night and said he had been ridiculed by colleagues for not backing the council's coastal hazards policy, but said he lacked confidence in the science behind it.

He said he was concerned that no mitigation measures had been proposed in the city's district plan review.

"We still hear this murmured message of managed retreat and I'm afraid that still purveys at the highest levels of council at the moment."

Mr East urged residents to make submissions on the new coastal hazard zones.

The CCRU has asked the council to extend the 30-day timeframe for submissions, which closes next Friday, to allow them more time to prepare.

Yesterday, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she would write to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Environment Minister Nick Smith to ask for an extension.