16 Apr 2015

Call for fix for four-year flood

12:58 pm on 16 April 2015

A group of Christchurch residents say no-one is taking responsibility for a spring that has been flooding their street for the last four years.

Joyce Fuller's street has had a constant flood of water ever since a spring came up in a neighbour's property in the earthquakes four years ago.

Joyce Fuller's street has had a constant flood of water ever since a spring came up in a neighbour's property in the earthquakes four years ago. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

Outside Joyce Fuller's house on Farnborough Street in Aranui, a large puddle of water is eating away the road's tarseal and buzzing with flying insects.

"Look at it. It's a mess. I mean, it's green, and horrible. It's awful, it really is."

She says she and her husband Bert try to keep the water clear of litter and rubbish but they feel, at their age, it shouldn't be their job.

Mrs Fuller doesn't blame her neighbour Glen Bradbrook, who owns the land that the water comes from. She says she thinks, as it was earthquake damage, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) ought to get it fixed.

Mr Bradbrook says water poured out when the spring first opened up in the February 2011 earthquake, flooding his and his neighbours' backyards.

The Earthquake Commission arranged for a pump to be attached and for the water to go into his stormwater system and out into the street.

Since then, he feels it has abandoned him with a problem he can't fix.

He has had an EQC payout for the overall damage to his land, but says it is a fraction of what would be needed to permanently fix the spring, which he has been told could be around $50,000.

"There's a lot of uncertainty about how I'm going to fix it," Mr Bradbrook says. "The cost is obviously going to be far beyond what they have given me."

Mr Bradbrook says the current solution leaves a large puddle constantly pooling on the street, which is an eyesore and a health hazard.

He says the fact that the water doesn't drain is also doing major damage to the road.

Neighbour Gavin Zimmerman says he's sick of having a dirty, smelly mess outside the front of his house. Recently, he says, his wife slipped into it while trying to clear rubbish from the puddle and ended up covered in water.

"She's been to the doctors, had X-rays and had to go to specialist and she may have to have an operation on her shoulder because of it," Mr Zimmerman says.

The EQC's Canterbury land settlement manager, Keith Land, says from the commission's point of view the case has been settled based on the loss of value of the damaged land.

"I know it sounds harsh, but the basis on which we need to settle these claims, which is well established under the EQC Act, is for us to either pay on the basis of the valuation or repair, whichever is less," he says.

"I don't for one moment imagine that that is what the customer wants to hear, but that is the basis on which we need to settle these claims."

Mr Land says the commission would like to have a direct conversation with the homeowner about the issue but he wouldn't say what it might be able to do to assist.

The Christchurch City Council says it has received 12 complaints from residents about the flooding since 2011 but that springs on private property are a private matter.