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CERA Update from Roger Sutton

(PR.co.nz) This week is going to be a time of particular reflection for all of us here as we mark six months on from February 22. For many there is still a great deal of pain and coming to terms with the loss of loved ones, friends and workmates. As a community we’re still doing a lot of healing, but the resilience and courage over recent months has been remarkable.

At the same time, CERA and other organisations have been working hard on the huge challenges that lie ahead for the recovery of the city and wider region.

We announced on Thursday that the government will be making offers to purchase 940 properties in Kaiapoi and Pines Beach. Of the 1,230 residential properties zoned orange for further investigation, 860 in Kaiapoi and 80 in Pines Beach have now been zoned red and 220 in the northern part of Kaiapoi have been zoned green. Letters have been sent to red zone property owners with a consent form to return to allow us to contact insurers and lawyers so the offer process can begin. A further 70 in the western part of Kaiapoi will remain in the orange zone for now for further investigative work.

The first offer letters also went out over the weekend to about 3000 of the 5,100 property owners whose homes were zoned red on 23 June. Each affected household is getting a pack with the letter of offer and information on the process and where to go for assistance. In the first instance, they should go to their own lawyers, accountants, bankers, and insurers for advice and information, but CERA staff can support people with queries. People can either call us on 0800 RING CERA (0800 746 423) or email landinfo@cera.govt.nz.

We’ve also opened an Earthquake Assistance Centre where people can go to get face to face support and advice when making decisions and working through the land offers. It’s in Avondale next to the Avondale golf club on the corner of Wainoni and Breezes Roads, (141 Breezes Road) and is currently open Monday to Friday 10am to 6.30pm.

The centre has representatives from CERA, the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service (CETAS), Community Law, EQC and insurance companies.

There’s also the centre in Kaiapoi where the Waimakariri Recovery Hub was set up to assist people in that district after the September 4 earthquake. It’s at 24 Sewell Street.

We’ve recently sent a letter to residents in the white zone Port Hills to let them know we are continuing to work as fast as possible to give them some clarity about the state of land in that area. The area is being assessed by the Port Hills Geotech Group, which is mapping land damage and assessing the hazards.

The second major snow fall this winter put a few things on hold with many people unable to get to work and the CBD red zone closed to contractors for two days. While these events do cause some delays, demolitions are still on target as is the Cashel Mall Restart which is due to open for Show Weekend.

That project got a real boost with the ‘Restart the Heart’ initiative which aims to provide temporary, relocatable accommodation for displaced businesses in the city mall. To support that, Christchurch businesses were offered a $3.36 million interest-free loan from the Government’s Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. More than 65 businesses have already registered their interest in the project, which will see container accommodation placed in the Mall by the end of October.

Work’s progressing on permanent appointments to CERA’s staff. I’ve announced the appointment of three general managers – Michelle Mitchell in Community Wellbeing, Warwick Isaacs in Demolitions and Steve Wakefield in Economic Recovery.

While we’re working hard to restore buildings, the infrastructure, the economy and the land, people are always at the heart of everything we do. It has been tough and there is more work ahead, but I am immensely proud of the people of Canterbury – your resilience, strength and determination are an inspiration.

Media Release 22 August 2011 from Roger Sutton, CEO of CERA.

 



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