Edwards on coastal hazards: 'This is not a negotiation'


Christchurch City Council chief executive Karleen Edwards says LIMs should not be wordsmithed by committee.

Controversial coastal hazards notations will stay on affected Christchurch property records, and they don't need to be fully accurate.

Chief executive Karleen Edwards said the council did not need to change the Land Information Memorandums (LIMs) for properties at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.

"This is not a negotiation process with property owners – or equally, prospective purchasers – about what is included on their LIMs," she said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has written to government ministers asking for more time to engage the community about property record notations.

Christchurch Coastal Residents United was concerned the information was inaccurate and may unfairly affect property values.

The Christchurch City Council says coastal properties and homes at the lower reaches of the city's rivers are at risk from several natural hazards.

Edwards agreed some information provided by the Tonkin & Taylor report about coastal hazards might not be accurate, but she would not update the LIMs until a further report had been completed around March next year.

"Council has a statutory obligation to disclose information about potential hazards that it has, even if it has some doubts about the full accuracy of the information."

She said the report had not been discredited and the council could not "unknow" the information supplied.

"Whilst the peer review of the Tonkin and Taylor report identified some issues – it also identified many positive and correct aspects of the report."

Mayor Lianne Dalziel has written a letter to Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Environment Minister Nick Smith asking for a change in the rules.

She requested a period of "safe harbour" for future LIMs notations, where councils and residents could discuss notations before they were put on the records.

Dalziel said disputes over LIMs eroded trust between the council and residents.

On September 5, the Christchurch Coastal Residents United (CCRU) group agreed to go into negotiations with Dalziel and council staff rather than present a deputation at the council's September 8 meeting.

Edwards revised the LIMs, changing from four specific notations to a more general statement about coastal hazards.

After continued meetings, CCRU became frustrated with the council and made a deputation at the September 29 council meeting, before members voted to accept the "watered down" revision to the LIM notations.

CCRU spokesman Tim Sintes said the group made little headway in negotiations, and now thinks they were a ploy to get the media off the council's back.

CCRU spokesman Warwick Schaffer said: "In the mayor's defence I think what she was trying to do was understand what our issue was. And we've put that, and not much has changed."

The group presented the council with legal advice, saying the council could and possibly should consult with the affected community when setting LIM notations.

The organisation provided alternative wording, which was rejected by Edwards, which emphasised issues found in the Tonkin & Taylor report by a peer review panel.

CCRU also requested that the second coastal hazards report, should go to tender instead of automatically being assigned to Tonkin & Taylor, which made errors in the first report.

Dalziel defended Tonkin & Taylor, saying the consultancy was used by central government and had a good grasp of the information.

She said issues in the first report were mostly because it was rushed.

Cr David East opposed the revision to the LIMs notation, and Cr Yani Johanson partially opposed it. All councillors voted to seek a further peer review of the Tonkin & Taylor report.

- Stuff see original article

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