Subdivision in no-man's land

Posted 18 Nov 2011 by MediaStuff Popular
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A Christchurch couple who had 11 of their properties red-zoned in Brooklands will not know if they are entitled to any compensation until next year.

John and Debbie Fowler, who developed the Seafield Lagoon subdivision in southeastern Brooklands, have 11 vacant sections still on the market.

The bare land is uninsured and may not qualify for the usual Government red-zone offer to buy it.

Brooklands was effectively wiped off the map on Thursday when 417 properties were rezoned red, meaning the entire suburb's land was uneconomic to repair.

Debbie Fowler said that when they did not receive the letter delivered to all Brooklands homeowners before the announcement, she called the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to find out why.

"They said there was just no decision made and no indication of when there would be. They said some time in the new year, but how long's a piece of string?

"I cannot understand how you can...separate the landowners from the house owners. Why would the decision not be made at the same time?"

She was worried the delay could mean bad news.

"Are they still trying to decide whether we will actually be paid out or as just landowners it might be tough luck for us?"

A Cera spokeswoman said orange and white-zone residents were a higher priority and consideration would be given to vacant sites next year.

Until then the Government offer was only for insured residential property owners in residential red zones.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) covered quake-damaged residential land, but a spokesman said landowners needed a house insurance policy to qualify.

"If an empty section's not insured, then it is definitely not covered. In terms of their options, EQC's just not one."

John Fowler said he was "still in bloody shock" at the news.

"We've ended up with 11 sections out there which is basically all the equity we've got in life.

"We thought finally at least we're going to get an answer resolved."

The couple began the development in 2008, investing more than $5 million to subdivide it into 31 sites, much of it on bringing in fill to meet higher flood-plain requirements.

The development stumbled when the buyers of several pre-sold sites were hit by the global financial crisis and could not settle. Several sites had to be sold below value to reduce debt.

Fowler estimated the rateable value (RV) for the sections, which a government offer would be based on, was $175,000. The sections retailed between $240,000 and $260,000.

"The development costs aren't covered by what the rateable value is, let alone seeing any other money on it. I was prepared to accept [an RV payout] just to try and move on with life."

"We're told we've got one more rotation back with EQC and then they're cutting the staff numbers down from over 600 to 100. Everyone's basically been told to go and look for another job next year."Fowler was working for EQC, but that was likely to finish at the end of the year.

Fowler said a Government payout would have let him try his hand elsewhere in property.

"I'd have some working capital back and I could have got out there and do what I've done for 30-odd years."

- The Press

Brooklands   #12   4:22pm


Fascinated that jc has a section with land value over $350k. The RV system is Brooklands is up the wop!


Peeps   #11   4:13pm


Mr Fowler, this is called life. You speculated, no doubt made good profits on 20 sections, didn't insure the empty ones, yet expect the rest of us taxpayers to cough up and compensate you??? Get a grip on reality, mate, and stop continuing to be focused on your own greed. YOU decided not to seek insurance for those sections, and this is the consequences of your actions. Even 2 year olds understand the concept of consequences.

And as for your job, well it is CONTRACT work, paid at above employed hourly rates because it is UNCERTAIN how long the contract will last. That's the nature of contract work, and the idea is you get the big bickies when the work is there to offset the leaner times. And don't start moaning about the numbers of staff being reduced, cos you have known since May that the field work was only going to last til mid December - EQC have been pretty up front about that. So quite your whining and woe-is-me act, and move on.

I reckon 80% of people in this town have been impacted by this quake in a significant way (emotional, psychological, financial, relationships, injury and loss of loved ones). That's what happens when big disasters strike, and we are bloody lucky that the government is trying hard to cushion the impact for as many people as possible. In many countries or back in the past this wouldn't happen. But then again, I am sure that if you did get any compensation you are the kind of person who will gripe and moan about what you get and never be happy.


pete   #10   3:28pm


sorry but i live in a red stickered munted house, i have no symathy for people without insurances, sorry none, dont see how you can have up to six dogs, a couple cars etc ,then complain you arnt getting help cause you cant afford the insurance.theres no xcuse.get rid some of the dogs etc ,dont bitch at the lack of help if you havnt helped yourself


Red zoner   #9   02:39 pm Nov 19 2011


No insurance is a gamble and in this case it didn't pay off. I pay insurance for times like these so why should someone without insurance get the same benefits without paying for them. You might pay tax but that doesn't cover EQC payments No insurance = no EQC If everyone is covered without paying then why pay insurance


jc   #8   02:23 pm Nov 19 2011


i to have a section out there gv over 350k no insurance you can only get insurance eqc if you have a building on it, but it is cera whom have condemed this suburb not eqc thats why they should pay, if they fix the infrastructure (roading sewer water etc ) and stop believing the greenies about flooding and get the ccc to do the dredging of the styx and the lagoon which should have been done years ago things would have been very different.


Fred   #7   01:33 pm Nov 19 2011


@ Jimmy, The developer is not insured because land can not be insured. And it's not eqc paying red zoners.


doug   #6   12:20 pm Nov 19 2011


Hay mate,after sep 22 my house red stickerd,no insurance,no help,liveing in small caravan,I pay my taxes, if thay help u, thay can help me out 2, and IM sure I speek 4 all in the same boat.


Greg_chch   #5   11:25 am Nov 19 2011


Speculation has its risks, price to pay for greed!


Jimmy   #4   09:46 am Nov 19 2011


not insured? what this tory about then? why would EQC assist everyone knows u need insurance. Stupid story.


rob   #3   08:45 am Nov 19 2011


EQC should give the guy his costs back not the full value of the sold land. Not a lot in the scheme of things. Just my 2c


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