About 80 hectares of Port Hills land that was red-zoned after the earthquakes have been transferred from the Crown to Christchurch City Council.
The 440 Port Hills properties are spread from Whitewash Head on Scarborough Hill to Charteris Bay, including pockets in Diamond Harbour, Lyttelton, Sumner, Redcliffs, Cashmere, the Avoca, Horotane and Heathcote valleys and Governors Bay.
They are the latest of the regeneration areas to switch from Crown to Council management and ownership.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) transferred residential red zone sites in Brooklands, Southshore, South New Brighton and the historic Bill Sutton House in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor to the Council last year.
“This transfer of Port Hills properties signals another major step forward in protecting these valuable areas, which were so badly affected by the earthquakes,” Mayor Lianne Dalziel says.
“The Port Hills is a unique landscape with huge environmental and cultural significance, and receiving the ownership and management of these regeneration areas presents an opportunity to deliberately and tangibly increase Christchurch’s ecological biodiversity.”
The Council will maintain the regeneration areas, look at how some current regional park boundaries can be extended to safely encapsulate some of the former residential red zones, and work closely with community groups and organisations on weed and pest control schemes.
Management of existing transitional land use licences, for activities such as grazing, has also transferred from the Crown to the Council.
Minister for Land Information Damien O’Connor says over the past 10 years, the Crown has completed about 400 demolitions of severely earthquake-damaged and at-risk properties in the area, many of which were highly complex and used innovative techniques.
“In addition, we’ve planted almost 50,000 native plants – helping to enhance biodiversity across the Port Hills – and have supported numerous projects and events,” he says.
LINZ inherited responsibility for Crown-owned Port Hills red zone land from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in 2015.
The land transfer is part of the September 2019 Global Settlement Agreement, a contract between the Crown and Council to finalise the remaining costs and responsibilities for Christchurch’s earthquake recovery and regeneration.