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Gerry Brownlee

24 January, 2013

Danger still evident in Port Hills

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says a 40 tonne boulder that crashed through a house in the Port Hills last night is a graphic illustration of the ongoing unpredictability of the damaged land.

“This very vividly vindicates the time and effort spent establishing the risk of rock roll on the Port Hills,” Mr Brownlee says.

The giant boulder lodged under the Finnarsby Place house after crashing through the deck.

“This property is in the red zone and is now Crown-owned,” Mr Brownlee says.

“We know from the extensive ground-truthing and area-wide modelling that the risk of rock roll in this part of the Port Hills is high, hence the need to zone the land red,” Mr Brownlee says.

“What last night’s incident illustrates is that this is not just guesswork.

“The risk is real and there will be an ongoing safety issue with this land for some time.”

Mr Brownlee says reports from CERA’s geologists indicate such rock roll activity is to be expected, even without an obvious trigger like heavy rain or further earthquakes.

“This boulder is the size of a van, so clearly it posed a risk to life and limb had that home been occupied.

“All areas of Port Hills land zoned red due to rock roll are as dangerous and this cannot be forgotten.”

The decisions around the zoning of some properties in the Port Hills are currently under review, and the results of that will be announced in due course.

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery