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Friday, May 6, 2011

Residents to get access to red zone

Residents to get access to red zone

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 04/05/2011
 
Residents of Christchurch's red zone will soon be given access to their homes to recover possessions.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) said yesterday a resident-access programme had been adapted from the business-access programme that had allowed 831 businesses controlled access.

A successful trial of the resident programme had been held last week, it said.

Residents wanting access had to register on the Earthquake Recovery News and Information service on canterburyearthquake.org.nz and would be contacted soon.

Cera transition and deconstruction interim manager Warwick Isaacs said how long residents could enter a building would be reviewed by structural engineers. "Within a building, everything from the number of floors, the stability of a stairway or whether there are safe refuge points is taken into account," he said.

"As a result, some people are given 15 minutes, others two hours."

Those taking part in the three-week programme would be responsible for their safety and were asked to take a head torch, high-visibility vest and sturdy shoes.

Helmets would be provided, Isaacs said, and people should prepare a list of their "must-have" possessions.

"Planning around safety is very complex, so once we have everything sorted we are able to give people 48 hours notice," he said.

"If you're waiting to hear from the resident-access programme, use that time to plan." The programme might be the best and only chance for access to the red zone, he said.

More of central Christchurch will reopen tomorrow.

Most of zone 4 and the northern section of zone 6 will be open to residents and businesses owners from 8am, and to the public 24 hours later.

The zones are north of Victoria Square and between Montreal and Madras streets.

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