Auckland Council will begin engagement this week with the owners of residential properties affected by this year’s extreme weather events and those considered most at risk of further weather events.
The initial tranche of letters will contact around 700 residential property owners this week to explain that their property may fall into the Government’s high risk property category and that a detailed risk assessment is needed.
Group Recovery Manager Mat Tucker says that work is progressing as quickly as possible for storm-affected property owners.
“To help us with the risk assessments, we’re asking homeowners to provide more information about their properties so we can more quickly work through the risk categorisation process.
“Property owners can go online to a secure form to provide information about their property that Auckland Council doesn’t currently hold, such as how the building is used or whether there is a history of flooding. We encourage homeowners to provide as much relevant information as they can so that we can reach an accurate categorisation as fast as possible.”
Mr Tucker says that there has been some confusion between the red, yellow and white placards issued by councils immediately after the storm event, and the Government’s risk categorisation framework announced on 1 May this year.
"Placards indicate an immediate safety risk at a property after an emergency event. The Government’s new property risk categories, however, consider whether there is a future risk.
“There isn't a direct link between placard colours and the risk category so it’s possible that a home with a red placard could become either a Category 1, 2 or 3, based on a detailed risk assessment. Conversely, a home without a placard could be Category 3 if there’s a future risk at that location.”
Mr Tucker says that it will take time to reach all of the thousands of storm-affected homes in Auckland.
“In addition to the homeowners we're already in contact with, there may be properties that were damaged in the storms that weren’t reported to the council. If your home was impacted but you don’t hear from us, you can go online to the council website to find out more. If you think you should be included in the risk assessments, you can complete the form too,” he says.
The details of a buyout process for Category 3 homes are still being worked through with the Government, following a commitment to support a buyout scheme.
“This is a really complex situation, and we need to ensure that fair and robust decisions are being made when assigning risk categories to homes so everyone has confidence in the process and the outcome.
“These decisions will determine whether it’s safe for people to keep living in some locations and will have long-term impacts on some people’s lives.”
“We appreciate that this has been a stressful time for storm-affected property owners, and we look forward to working together to achieve certainty over the coming months,” says Mr Tucker.
More information on the consultation process, the property categorisation framework, and next steps can be found at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/recovery, which will be updated regularly.