30 Mar 2020

The COVID-19 lockdown has forced a temporary halt on the installation of heat pumps and better ventilation in hundreds of social housing homes around Christchurch.

Christchurch City Council and the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (OCHT) were aiming to install heat pumps in more than 900 homes by the start of winter as part of its Warm and Dry initiative.

However, they have had to push pause on the joint initiative to protect the safety of tenants and contractors during the COVID-19 lockdown.

OCHT Chief Executive Cate Kearney says the trust sought advice from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Canterbury District Health Board before making the decision to call a temporary halt to the installation work.

“Obviously we are disappointed that we have to postpone the programme but the safety of our tenants, employees and contractors is a key priority. I can assure people that we will restart the programme as soon as possible and once lockdown is lifted we will be back out in your homes scoping and installing heat pumps and again targeting the 909 highest priority homes.”

Christchurch City Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall says the Council and the Trust are committed to completing the Warm and Dry initiative as soon as possible.

Three hundred and forty heat pumps have already been installed under the initiative.

“The lockdown is an unprecedented situation that none of us could have foreseen when we began planning for the roll-out of the Warm and Dry initiative. Our focus now is on working out how we can accelerate the installation work as soon as the lockdown is lifted,’’ Mr Rendall says.

All OCHT tenants have received personal notification about the pause in work and will be kept informed as work on the programme resumes.