Natural Hazards and Land Damage
Since the earthquake, Council has been building a good range of information to inform decisions and working with central government and other agencies to share information and reduce costs.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for how hazards and risks should be identified or managed. The main focus is on protecting the ‘life safety’ of people and communities; and then identifying long-term measures to reduce risks. These measures can include geotechnical solutions (e.g rock-fall nets, bunds and walls; monitoring systems to provide early warning of future risks); or policy measures (such as restricting access or development of ‘at-risk’ sites).
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Since the earthquake, Council has been building a good range of information to inform decisions. This includes a significant amount of geotechnical data including reports on subsurface testing, observed lateral spread and land stretching, aerial photography and ground elevations (eg. LiDAR), geotechnical surveys and building and infrastructure damage data.
Council has also been working with central government (the National Recovery Office within the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry for the Environment), and other agencies including ECAN, neighbouring councils, GNS Science, NCTIR to share information and reduce costs.
Natural hazards and land damage can pose risks to people’s lives, safety, health and wellbeing. They can reduce the value of people’s homes and land. This can impact on whether people can afford to rebuild or to carry on using their land and property in the way they did prior to the earthquake.
Councils are normally responsible for managing and mitigating risks from natural hazards and land damage. However, during recovery, central government agencies support Councils to keep people safe; and to identify and implement options for managing and mitigating risks.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for how hazards and risks should be identified or managed. Each case is assessed on its merits. Risk management options range from accepting a risk, to avoiding it altogether (eg, by prohibiting access to, or use of, an area).
The main focus is on protecting the ‘life safety’ of people and communities; and then identifying long-term measures to reduce risks. These measures can include geotechnical solutions (e.g rock-fall nets, bunds and walls; monitoring systems to provide early warning of future risks); or policy measures (such as restricting access or development of ‘at-risk’ sites).
Across Kaikōura the 2016 earthquakes caused or accentuated significant risks to some properties and infrastructure from natural hazards.
Without assistance, Council is not in a financial position to provide financial assistance to affected landowners. Since the earthquake, Council has been working with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, EQC, Environment Canterbury, geologists and scientists to support landowners to work through their natural hazard and land damage issues and to plan for future land use.
In mid-May, as part of budget 2018, the government announced it will contribute an estimated $1.5million towards addressing natural hazards risk. Council appreciates the funding that government is making available. We are now working with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and Department of Internal Affairs to determine how the funding should be used and what other assistance may be able to be offered.
We will continue to work one-on-one with affected property owners to keep them up to date and help them understand what happens next.
The November 2016 earthquake exposed a large number of known and new natural hazards such as landslips, rock-fall, and landslide dams. It also caused significant damage to land under and around people’s homes, businesses and farms such as cracking, lateral spread, and liquefaction.
We estimate that the earthquakes caused or accentuated significant risks from natural hazards to around 61 properties across Kaikoura. Of these, about 14 properties are likely to be at unacceptably high life risk from natural hazards/land damage, about 25 properties at Lyell Creek may be on land that has been damaged so significantly it is now unfit to be built on. Property owners of these significantly affected properties have been contacted directly by Council and will be updated as work continues.
As part of the immediate earthquake response, ‘quick’ visual assessments of all properties District wide were completed. Properties that were structurally damaged or were at risk from hazards (e.g. landslide or rockfall) were issued with placards (‘stickers’). In the response phase of the emergency, Kaikoura District Council issued 289 red or yellow placards.
- A red placard meant that a building was unsafe and no one was allowed to enter.
- Yellow placards meant there were restrictions on entering/using the building.
- A white placard meant that a building was safe to occupy.
As we moved into recovery we checked over 180 properties to see if further geotechnical assessments were needed. 65 properties received more detailed geotechnical reports.
To keep our decisions about the properties affected by elevated risk from land damage/natural hazards responsible, affordable and fair, Council needed to consider what it wanted to achieve (our objectives) and who it would apply to (our intervention criteria) and how we’d be getting involved (our intervention options).
Our objectives are to:
- protect people at an unacceptable level or risk from harm and enable property owners and residents to move on
- get certainty for homeowners, residents, business owners and the community about what happens next as soon as we can
- ensure the community has greater resilience to future events
Our intervention criteria:
Our intervention criteria help guide Councils work around natural hazards and land damage. Every property we know about with land damage/natural hazard risk is checked against these criteria. If it meets one or more, Council considers intervention options for that property.
There are three different types of intervention criteria:
- life safety risks: where people are placed in situations of unacceptable life risk from natural hazards; and
- land damage: where land is damaged to such an extent that it is no longer fit to be built on; or there is a high risk of further land damage; and
- wellbeing risk: there is no effective or practical options for remediation of damage or avoiding future damage within a reasonable timeframe.
Our intervention options:
Longer term intervention options range from fixing or reducing the risk/damage to moving people away from the risk if there is no other viable solution.
For each property, we need to decide what scale of intervention is appropriate and where funding can be found. Costs will vary and are likely to be split between property owners (e.g. through their insurance payouts), the Council, and central government.
To keep people safe while we find long term solutions for significantly affected properties, Section 124 notices have been issued for buildings with unacceptably high life risk from natural hazards/land damage. This means these buildings are considered dangerous and cannot be used until the notice is lifted. Those issued with a notice will have also received advice on the work required to make the buildings habitable. Read more about Section 124s.
For properties that have not recived a 124 notice, if your ability to live in our use your property has been affected, we recommend you contact the following agencies and seek their advice and support:
- Your insurer and EQC to discuss your options
- Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for temporary accommodation information and help: phone 0508 754 163 / Email / Online
- Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for wider social housing needs: phone 0800 559 009 / Online
- Kaikōura District Council’s Community services team for help getting connected to all available support services: phone 021 236 1890 and leave a message and someone will get back to you
- Kaikōura District Council’s building and regulatory staff 03 319 5026 for building advice.
- Read more about housing in Kaikōura here.
If you have received a notice and you do not agree with our assessment or you have now completed the required work, please contact our building team to schedule a reassessment.
- Repair and rebuild advice for Lyell Creek landowners
- Lyell Creek 6th March public meeting summary and it's implications of the main ground failure along Lyell Creek for landowners
GNS have a site dedicated to showing New Zealand's active fault database.
23 August 2018