christchurch-earthquakeWay back on 19 February 2011, some of our CanCERN members were attending the first council-led earthquake stakeholder briefing aimed at putting the recovery on the table – “Where were we at?”

Those of us who were at the time waiting for area wide remediation to start were all asking what the hold up was. How naive were we in our expectations? A brave engineering guy tried to stand up to answer the question and there was a bit of an internal tussle happening as some obviously weren’t comfortable with the idea that he may tell the whole story. Finally the guy walked to the front of the crowd, grabbed the microphone and told us there was a hold up because we didn’t have the equipment in NZ to do it and we didn’t have the expertise to do it either. The crowd cheered at the bad news because it was honest and we could finally make sense of why we were waiting.

Why is this story important? Because it is an anomaly in the recovery and we haven’t seen this level of transparency and honesty about the good, the bad and the ugly since then.

CanCERN has been working with some of the recovery agencies to try to pull together a space where residents can explore land issues. The planning is well underway and we can finally get the word out. It’s called the In the Know Land Hub*.

Residents are being told big things about their land – IFV or not IFV, potentially contaminated, no observable land damage, flood management area, and soon, the long awaited ILV letters will be sent out.

The Declaratory Judgement is hovering, as is the District Plan, and MBIE Guidelines continue to be updated or altered as new research or reports are released.

Whether any of the decisions made about land assessment, settlement, foundation design, repair methodology, etc. are the right ones is a discussion that needs to happen, and we do join those conversations.

But right now, residents are having to make decisions about repairing or rebuilding based the information available now (correct or incorrect).

Most can’t afford the luxury of holding off until everything has been challenged, reviewed and defined, which is why we believe it’s crucial to provide residents with an overall understanding of what’s been researched, as well as what has and hasn’t been confirmed. We hope this will help figure out what they can make decisions about and what they can’t yet.

Thanks to everyone who has shared questions or comments about what they would most like to learn from visiting the hub. We don’t promise that every question will be answered because we know there are still a lot of land-related decisions to be made or confirmed. But hopefully residents will get a greater sense of what is known, what is not yet known, and who the best people are to connect with to help make decisions about their properties.

*In the Know Land Hub is a new public education space where residents can get information to better understand the changes to the flat land in their neighbourhood and across Christchurch.

How does the service work?

There is a lot of work going on to identify what has happened to the land under Christchurch. The Earthquake Commission, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, supported by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, have joined together to share with the community what they know, what they don’t know yet and what they are doing to find answers to property owners’ questions.

How does the service help?

At the Land Hub, residents can talk face to face with geotechnical engineers and Christchurch City Council representatives. Specific claim information will not be available, but appointments for further discussion can be made for you.

The Land Hub will also host a series of seminars, the schedule for which will be available from when it is developed.

The Land Hub aims to join the dots about:

  • The processes of identifying Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability
  • EQC ground improvement trials and pilots
  • Increased Flooding Vulnerability
  • Christchurch City Council flood management and local flood protection measures
  • Christchurch City Council District Plan review and consenting
  • Ministry of Business, Improvement & Employment building guidelines on damaged land
  • Environment Canterbury Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL) information.

How do I contact the service?

In the Know Land Hub will operate from 9 September 2014 until 3 October 2014 at 140 Springfield Road, Edgeware, Christchurch (Beulah Church). Property owners and those interested in what we know about the land in Canterbury are invited to drop in MondayFriday, 9am12pm and MondayWednesday, 4pm7pm.