Sumner residents want protection

Posted 01 Jul 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
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Sumner home

UNSAFE FEELING: This Sumnervale Drive home has just been rezoned green despite boulders having rolled down the hill.


Nearly 1400 Port Hills white-zone properties were rezoned by the Government on Friday; 1107 went green and 285 went red.Green-zoned Sumner residents say they want protection against falling rocks before moving back into their homes.

One hundred and sixty-six properties stayed white, meaning they needed more geotechnical assessment to be rezoned.

Affected residents gathered at the van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner yesterday to share their concerns.

Sumner resident Mark Coulter, whose property was rezoned green, said he and his wife felt uneasy after a boulder crashed into a neighbours' house during the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

"They remediated it ... and then [the June 13 aftershocks] happened, and more rocks came down and landed on the road," he said.

"We want to go back into our house but we want to go back with a degree of safety, not just a hypothetical theory that says you will be safe."

The house hit by the boulder was also green-zoned on Friday.

Coulter's wife was in their house during the June 2011 aftershocks.

"She said the rocks were 'popping out' because they pop out of the ground like popcorn," he said.

The couple wanted more information about their situation but had found it difficult to contact the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority after Friday's announcement.

They want rock-catching fences put up before moving back in.

A green-zoned neighbour of the Coulters, who did not want to be named, said the Christchurch City Council had been securing the rocks above her property, but they were left lying on the hillside.

"I always thought if we go back it would be with remediation and rock fences and bunding."

Rob Freeman, whose parents' house was "completely wrecked" and green-zoned, said there was always a rockfall risk for people living on the hills.

He did not think there was a huge risk of a rockfall, but he wanted rock-catching fences put up and the hillside reforested.

Ian Mandley hoped his Evans Pass Rd house would be red-zoned, but it stayed white.

"We had rocks through the roof [and on our driveway]. I don't think they can remediate it,'' he said.

"The rocks come out of the sky like meteors.

"The way these rocks bounce, they could easily bounce over fences.

"I'm afraid they'll just put the fence up and say there's protection, but I don't feel they will protect the house."

Community meetings will be held this week to give residents more information on the zoning announcements.

A meeting timetable is on the Cera website.

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