Mt Lyford quake damage in spotlight

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Battered and cracked . . . A log home at Mt Lyford stands empty on cracked ground. PHOTO: GARY MORTON

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Eight red placards and seven yellow were placed on homes and buildings in the village after the quake and it was recommended that “high priority” be given to ground and slope investigations because of instability.

The Hurunui District Council agreed at its monthly meeting that GNS Science investigate the ground damage, but only if the Mt Lyford community was “consulted and engaged” in the project.

It will assess the result of the consultation and engagement before allowing work to continue.

The aim of the proposal is to give property owners the opportunity to make informed decisions after getting insurance pay-outs and enable them, Environment Canterbury (ECan) insurers and the council to understand future risk and develop a policy in response if it is required.

In a report to council Rachel Elliot, policy planner and environmental recovery lead, said the proposal centred on “community need” and the first and last of the proposed tasks was community consultation.

“This is to fine-tune the purpose of the research and deliver results that will assist the community in rebuilding and increasing resilience.

“As there is a controversial history of natural hazards research in the Mt Lyford area, GNS Science, Environment Canterbury and council officers are seeking to co-operate in delivering this project,” she says.

She recommended the council agree to be involved in the investigation, subject to majority support of Mt Lyford property owners during the first task of consultation led by the council with GNS Science, ECan and EQC to get agreement on the proposed works programme.

In 2005, an investigation of faults and slope instability in the village was commissioned by Environment Canterbury which led to a review and re-investigation by GNS Science that downgraded many of the features identified during the initial investigation. A Mt Lyford resident questioned the accuracy of the reports and implications for future land use in the area with GNS Science following the earthquake.

The proposed investigation was a way of working with landholders to “assess and understand the extent of damage in the area, the implication this has for future use and any risks-based planning required, Ms Elliot said.