The residential red zone is a subject close to the hearts of those who first started CanCERN way back in September 2010 as most of the founding members ended up being red zoned. We have been a long time waiting for some clarity on what will become of the places where we used to live and where some still in fact have chosen to stay.
The Government has launched a public engagement process to gather opinion about the future use of the Waimakariri district’s residential red zone.
Check out the media release here and the website to share your ideas here.
Although the announcement of the beginning of these conversations can be seen as something positive for the wider community, we also need to be mindful of the fact that this may open up wounds for some of our ex or current red zoners. Let’s remember to be gentle and sensitive with our choice of words.
For those still living in the Waimakariri red zone – CERA staff have this week tried to contact you to give a heads up on what is happening and to offer the opportunity for an individual meeting with Waimakariri District Council and CERA staff to discuss future use or to raise concerns. Public meetings are also being planned.
Unfortunately, when consultation for the future use of the Christchurch residential red zone gets underway still has a question mark over it. The likelihood of it starting before the election is, in our opinion, low to none, and as there isn’t much time between the election and Christmas we’re thinking early 2015 is a better guess. Part of the reason for the delay is the need for the Christchurch City Council to be sure about what kind of space they believe they need for infrastructure and flood mitigation planning.
If you’re bursting with ideas about CHCH, go to the EVO::SPACE website (www.evospace.co.nz) and contribute to their ideas for the future use of the east. The work of groups like this will all feed into future use planning.
EVO:SPACE is ramping up, with about 1000 people registering so far to give feedback on the 25 proposals for the residential red zone in the east.
There’s been a lot of recent interest in an international flat water sports lake and complementary white water kayak course. However, the most popular proposals remain the city to sea Avon River Park and the Eastern Cycle and Walkway Network.
So if you haven’t already, register and give as much feedback as you like. You can always save your session and come back to it later. Or if you’d rather, there are a bunch of public drop in sessions and workshops over the next few weeks (details below).
We’ve plugged EVO:SPACE for the past wee while because we know how important it is to have the community voice at the table when decisions are made about the future of the east.
The programme will complement CERA’s public consultation on the residential red zones. The feedback, analysis, and recovery map for the East that will be produced as a result, will be published and forwarded to CERA and CCC.
We’ve been advertising it for a few weeks, and now the day is nearly up on us!
Singer Tiki Taane and TV’s ‘bugman’ Ruude Kleinpaste will be among the celebrity guests joining community volunteers to take the first steps in greening the red zone.
The Avon Otakaro Network needs help planting 400 native plants, a school community garden, and fruit tree grove.
Hot drinks and a sausage sizzle provided.
Bring gumboots, warm clothing and a spade if you have one – planting is happening rain or fine. Kids and family groups very welcome.
This launches the Mahinga Kai Exemplar Project and the first step in greening the red zone. Come along and be part of history.
When: Saturday 28 Jun, 10:30am – 2pm
Where: Anzac Drive Reserve off Chimera Crescent (take care on the roads!)
Here’s a quick heads up about some geotechnical drilling work SCIRT is starting soon in Avonside.
When? From May 5th for about a month.
Why? To see where the best place is to relocate a wastewater trunk main.
SCIRT says the work will happen during the day next to and within the residential red zone.
Click here for more info.
It has been a long time coming but finally the Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee, has announced that the community will have a say in the future use of the red zone.
This announcement will be received by people differently – some with scepticism, some with excitement that the planning and thought that has already happened in the community can now progress and for 130 odd families living throughout the flat land red zone from Kaiapoi through to the city, with a whole raft of uncomfortable feelings because they still live in the areas that will be up for discussion.
At this stage CanCERN is choosing to embrace the announcement because we have worked with great people at CERA in the Residential Red Zone space who we know want to develop meaningful engagement processes. Engagement works best if the interested parties are part of designing the framework so we will be working with others like Avon Otakaro to discuss with the planning team what we believe will make for a good process where people have really felt like they have had a say about this special area.
There are some great examples of this kind of community-led collaborative planning – In the Know and Let’s Find and Fix amongst them. Community members should start to consider how it is they would like to contribute to this important decision.
Read the media release here.
Roger Sutton has also sent letters to those residents living in the Red Zone to inform them of this engagement process and let them know that they can call CERA if they need to know more. Click here to read the letter
Read the Avon Otakaro media response here.
It’s worth recognising that today is officially the last day flat land red zone families have to depart their homes if they have chosen to accept the Crown offer. Of course there are still some 51 families living there with case by case extensions because the reality is that insurers, councils, real estate agents and builders didn’t always manage to work to the imposed deadline. There are also 137 property owners who chose not to accept the offer and their future is an ongoing conversation of uncertainty.
Being a red zoner is a complex identity. Some people were very relieved to be able to move from their properties and have found the relocation has allowed them to leave the earthquake behind and embark on a new start. Some came out financially better and others have suffered great financial loss.
Many, many red zoners we talk to talk about the time it takes to transition into a new home and new community. Although there is often a sense of relief that day to day living is easier, that doesn’t always transition into instant happiness.
My family settled and moved into our new home just over 2 years ago. We have generally felt like we have camped here for most of that time. Our lives are still pretty much lived in town via sports, school, work and friends so we have constantly questioned if we made the right move to buy 30km out of Christchurch. In an attempt to start a new life we have joined in with community events out here and made some good friends (not unsurprisingly, many are red zoners also new to the area).
Over Christmas holidays we decided to paint the interior of our house, move the furniture to where we want it and finally put the artwork on the walls. This is our big move towards accepting that we no longer live in Avonside. We are grateful for the things we took from our Avonside home – the numbers off the letterbox mark the place where our ‘Keller St garden’ is and the beautiful heart rimu shelf that once sat over our fireplace now takes place of pride in our kitchen.
So we are no longer live in Avonside but perhaps we will always be ‘red zoners’. To all those other red zoners who have made the move, have yet to make the move or have chosen not to make the move at all, all the best to you and your families as you make your own transitions.
If you are still living in the flat land red zone and believe you will be struggling to move out by the 31 January deadline, please make sure you have contacted CERA to share your concerns – 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372).
CERA has people available to help but is also looking into situations where they will waive penalties on the Sale and Purchase Agreement for those who have continued to make alternative arrangements without success.
CanCERN asked CERA for clarification of asbestos removal practices in the Residential Red Zone. The response is below:
CERA, ECan and MBIE are working together to ensure that the removal of asbestos from Crown-owned residential red zone dwellings is carried out in accordance with all appropriate guidelines.
The Crown-owned properties being cleared by CERA are inspected by environmental specialists for the presence of asbestos before any work is undertaken on them. If any properties (including structures such as fences and out buildings) are thought to contain asbestos samples are taken and these are tested. If the results are positive this information is relayed to the contractor carrying out the work on behalf of CERA and the asbestos has to be removed as per the necessary guidelines. The work that the insurers are responsible for follows a similar process.
ECan’s Waste and Environmental Management Team are co-located with CERA’s operations team who manage the clearance of Crown-owned properties in the residential red zone, so there is a close and very good working relationship between both organisations. Whenever there has been an alleged incident involving asbestos both parties have immediately investigated it thoroughly.
In September 2012 MBIE conducted a series of planned audits of Crown-owned properties in the residential red zone and found that the standard of work and compliance across the board was good. There was no specific mention of any issues with asbestos. MBIE continues to carry out random checks of contractors throughout Christchurch, including within the residential red zone.