Fire recovery plan released

by Kent Caddick

Selwyn District Council has released a recovery plan discussion document to assist in Selwyn’s recovery following the Port Hills fire.

February’s firestorm on the Port Hills week’s Port Hills covered over 2,000 hectares and destroyed 11 homes. Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said Christchurch City Council recently released a Port Hills Recovery Plan Discussion Document and the development of Selwyn’s plan has been coordinated with the Christchurch plan.

“The Selwyn discussion and recovery document is focused on the Selwyn area affected by the fires,” Mr Broughton said.

“Council has been working with families affected by the fire since February and the recovery document is focussed on continuing to support them into the future.

“It also looks at actions that can be taken to restore the built and natural environment and reduce the risk of fire affecting this area in the future.”

Mayor Broughton said a meeting was held for property owners in the Port Hills area in late March to discuss how the risk of fires in the area could be reduced in the future. “Property owners provided valuable feedback at this meeting and through council staff which has been used to help develop the draft recovery plan,” he said. “Council’s Recovery Team has been assisting affected families by offering advice as well as helping with advocacy to other organisations.

“Building safety inspections at a number of properties have been completed by the council’s building consents team and some reseeding work has been coordinated and carried out in this area by the community.” A range of future actions are identified in the plan. 

These include setting up a facilitated building consent process for people who are planning to carry out repairs or build new houses following fire damage, with consents being prioritised.

“Some geotechnical assessment has already been undertaken on properties, and further work is currently underway in Early Valley Road to address the risk of rockfall. Mayor Broughton said among the objectives of the discussion document and recovery are to ensure homes are rebuilt in a timely manner with property owners being supported through the process, and the future landscape of the Port Hills reduces the risk of future extreme fire events.

Comments on the discussion document are open until May 26 and a copy of the document and information on how to submit comments is online at www.selwyn.govt.nz/haveyoursay