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Christchurch City Council is today closing 20 units in the Reg Stilwell Place City Housing complex in New Brighton.
The closure of the housing complex comes after the Council received the results of a Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) assessment which shows the buildings have a seismic capacity of less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS). Engineers have recommended the units should not be occupied. The Council is today giving tenants seven days’ notice under Section 59 of the Residential Tenancies Act because they are considered to be at risk in the event of future earthquakes or aftershocks.
City Housing staff are today working closely with the 20 affected tenants to re-house as many as possible in other Council-owned social housing units. They will also work with other agencies who own social housing units to re-house tenants where necessary.
Community Services General Manager Michael Aitken says while the Council sympathises with tenants who will have to leave their homes it must ensure their safety in the event of future earthquakes or aftershocks.
“We understand this will be upsetting for affected tenants, but the Council will be taking every step possible to help them find other accommodation. Although we are required to give tenants seven days’ notice, we will be working with them to help them move earlier if possible.”
The complex underwent Level Two Rapid Assessments – visual engineering assessments of the inside and outside of a building – after each of the major earthquakes. At the time, units that were considered not fit to occupy were vacated. A total of 14 units in the 34-unit complex were already vacant due to earthquake damage.
Mr Aitken says the Council is aware of the need for more social housing in Christchurch, following the earthquakes. The Council has lodged claims with EQC for earthquake-damaged housing units and has recently received an initial payout of $21 million. Council staff are currently reviewing the information received from EQC, which includes prioritising work and seeking clarification into likely repair strategies.
“The Council is also looking at options for increasing the number of City Housing units it has available. This includes looking at how land with existing units could be better used to allow more units to be built.”
For more information about the Council’s Detailed Engineering Evaluations, which are being carried out as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project, visit http://www.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/councilfacilities/CommunityFacilitiesStatus.aspx