Geotechnical Report following Canterbury Earthquake

( Earthquake recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the peer-reviewed geotechnical report delivered by consultant engineers to the Earthquake Commission contains good news for the vast majority of Canterbury residents – their land can and will be fixed.

“The most recent information suggests very few people will be forced to re-locate because their land is beyond cost-effective repair,” Mr Brownlee said.

“I know the issue which is uppermost in the minds of many Cantabrians is the public release of the geotechnical reports that show which areas are damaged, and how badly they are damaged.

“But to avoid conjecture and misunderstanding, which may cause stress to residents, this has to be released in conjunction with the government’s decisions on what will be done to address the damage in each affected area.

“These decisions will be based on information from the Earthquake Commission and their consultant engineers Tonkin & Taylor.

“I’d like to set out a timeline that will lead to the public release of that information.

1. “The Earthquake Commission will meet on Friday to make decisions which will inform a Cabinet paper for Cabinet’s information and consideration on Monday 11 October.

“I expect the underlying message to be good news for the people of Canterbury, with the vast majority of land able to be repaired. So even if houses are significantly damaged and require demolition, all but a handful Cantabrians will be able to re-build on their original site once the land is repaired.

2. “Depending on the outcome of that Cabinet meeting, the intention is that I will provide a special briefing on the Earthquake Commission and government plans for land remediation to the three councils elect next week.

3. “Some time after that – when the logistics of concisely informing residents of the decisions about remediation of their property have been worked through – we would then publicly release the geo-technical maps of each damaged suburb, along with an agreed action plan for fixing the land in those suburbs, and indicative costs and timelines for completion of the works.

“This will not provide answers to every question, but it will outline the government’s approach and a timeline for working through the issues of land repair, construction and accommodation over the months ahead.

“The underlying message is good news. I hope the people of Canterbury who have suffered property damage can take heart from confirmation that most land will be fixed, that houses will be rebuilt, and that the equity they believed they had in their properties prior to the September 4 event is preserved,” Mr Brownlee said.

Media Release 7 October 2010 from Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Earthquake Recovery.