166 red-zone properties still in limbo
Sat, 30 Jun 2012 6:20p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
Officials are removing red-zone stickers from almost 130 Christchurch houses that have been off-limits to their owners since the earthquake in February last year.
While it's good news for those homeowners, others are still in limbo and will have to wait until at least August to know the future of their properties.
Gary Rochford's house was red-stickered because of rockfall danger, but he always thought it was safe.
So today he held a symbolic burning of his section 124 red sticker. Now the place has been officially cleared, going from the uncertainty of the white-zone to green.
“[It was] slightly liberating,” says the Avoca Valley resident. “It has been a long, long road. It's one thing to go through a natural disaster but it's another to go through the challenge to face the bureaucratic hoops and hurdles.”
He and other Avoca Valley residents aren't impressed with the way officials have handled their plight.
“We've had private investigators here snooping on us, so it has been 493 days of us dealing with these issues,” says Mr Rochford.
He doesn't feel like celebrating his zone change because other residents are still in limbo, zoned white and needing further assessment.
Tony Ging, Janna Fitzsimons and their young family are in that situation. Authorities are still to decide on their house; in the meantime, the family has had to move four times.
“We just really want to come back here and we want to come back as soon as possible,” they say. “We can't even come back here to our red-stickered property because we don't have a water supply to the house.”
Officials were working right up to the last minute to get out yesterday's announcement, but the fate of 166 properties is still up in the air and won't be known until mid-August.
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