Politicians called in over rising sea level issues

WAITING GAME: Owners Wendy and Nigel Gilchrist are expecting to hear next week if they have resource consent on their vacant site at 153 Main Rd, Redcliffs. The waterfront property sits within the Residential Unit Overlay.

Government MPs have been called in to help solve problems people face trying to get resource consent for sites in Redcliffs.

On Friday, Labour MPs Ruth Dyson, Duncan Webb and Poto Williams met with members of the Christchurch Coastal Residents’ United group and Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board member Darrell Latham to discuss the problem and a potential remedy.

CCRU is a group made up of coastal residents and experts.

Also at Friday’s meeting was Coastal-Burwood Community Board member Tim Sintes; Southshore is facing the same problems as Redcliffs.

Ms Dyson said after the meeting the MPs were pleased to learn first hand of the “significant implications” of the District Plan.

“We have not yet reached a view on what intervention, if any, is necessary or appropriate. We have agreed to do further investigations into the process before we make such a decision,” she said.

At issue is the way sites in a ‘restricted unit overlay’ within the High Flood Hazard Management Area are treated by city council planners.

CCRU say a restricted discretionary activity rule recommended by the Replacement District Plan independent hearings panel was left out when the plan was implemented last year.

The restricted unit overlay comprises 1486 residential zoned sites within the HFMZA which are only at risk from future sea level rise – not river or tidal flooding.

But CCRU said that property owners within the restricted unit overlay have been having extreme difficulty getting resource consent. Without the discretionary rule, under the District Plan the sites are treated the same as any others within the HFMZA, whereby “new developments or intensification of land uses in these areas are to be avoided.”

Dr Latham said he was unaware of the reason why the recommended rule was left out of the District Plan.

“But it’s something we need to put right. We are seeking clarification as to why the intent of the wording does not match what has been put.”