1 Oct 2015

Coastal hazard info 'hocus pocus'

10:09 am on 1 October 2015

A group of Christchurch residents is stunned to find details about houses being vulnerable to the sea will stay on their Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports - potentially pushing down the value of their homes.

They had initially been told coastal hazard information would be wiped from the council rulebook.

New Brighton, Christchurch

About 18,000 Christchurch properties are expected to have coastal hazard notations placed on their LIMs. Photo: 123RF

On Tuesday, the government and Christchurch City Council stood together to say 18,000 homes would not be classed as being vulnerable to the changing coastal environment.

That was the good news.

But locals have since learned property values could still be hit if the hazards are left on land information memorandums.

Christchurch Coastal Residents United chair Mark Munro Mark Munro, said there are mixed feelings.

"A lot of residents on one hand have been very very happy, but the LIM notice comes up - and that is the biggest fear."

Mr Munro said they want the council's chief executive to remove the information from the LIM reports.

He said if the council decided to go ahead and include the information then the group would carefully consider its next move.

"There's no guarantee that we'll end up taking action, we'll have to weigh up the potential costs against the benefits, but we're certainly already taking advice."

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, and ministers, Nick Smith and Nicky Wagner at today's announcement.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, and Crown ministers Nick Smith and Nicky Wagner at Tuesday's announcement. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

A Kapiti group that has had the same battle with its council - and won - has been helping the Christchurch residents.

The chair of the Kapiti coastal group, Christopher Ruthe, said Christchurch City Council should acknowledge that the coastal hazard information did not belong on LIMs.

"Something that is a remote possibility in 100 years' time - saying it affects your property now is the biggest crock of hocus pocus one could ever imagine."

He said decisions on the effect of sea level rises should not be made solely by New Zealand scientists.

"Little councils who do not have the scientists, who do not have the experts, making these decisions is not acceptable."

"You need to get international scientists because we just don't have the skill set here in New Zealand to settle all the problems - we have a lot, but we need to compliment that with international standards."

Christchurch City councillor Yani Johanson conceded the council's decisions this week have contradicted each other.

"It's not a good look for us to ask for the chapter to be removed from our district review process, but then at the same time keep it in on people's LIMs and keep internal processes that basically give effect to what we proposed."

Christchurch City Council said it had a responsibility to landowners and potential buyers to be open about the hazard information.

It said coastal hazard notations would appear on the LIMs of 17,630 Christchurch properties.

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