Nelson City Council is in discussions with property owners over the possible purchase of a number of properties in the Brook that are at risk from slips originating from its land following the severe rainfall in August 2022, and further significant rainfall in May 2023.
Council had originally planned to remediate three slips from public land in the area affecting private property as part of the $17.3m package approved in May 2023.
Since August 2022 there have been further significant rainfall events, most notably in May this year. As a result of ongoing inspections by Council and their consultants it has become evident that the fixes proposed for these three slips are no longer appropriate and fit-for-purpose, as the slips are now no longer localised, have become widespread and more unstable.
The latest peer-reviewed geotechnical assessment of the hillside shows the likelihood of these slips activating in a future major weather event ranges from Almost Certain, to Likely, to Possible.
Property owners have been informed of this risk and that Council is offering to purchase their properties. Affected residents have asked that their privacy is respected during this time.
There is no immediate risk to properties and residents and the Building Control Authority has not issued these properties with any placards at this stage. Council will be working with the landowners to consider an appropriate trigger for them to vacate their properties such as an approaching severe weather event.
“Part of our responsibility of being a good neighbour since the August weather event has been to step up monitoring of ground conditions on our own land,” says Acting Nelson Mayor Rohan O’Neill-Stevens.
“This has allowed us to make more accurate risk assessments of our land and offer these homeowners a way forward. It should be stressed that this is a specific response to a specific situation and should not be seen as an indication of what might happen in future weather events. It’s clear that a national conversation needs to happen about how the fallout from severe weather events is paid for.
“It’s hard to grasp what it’s like to receive news like this until you receive it yourself. But we recognise that this particular group of homeowners now have to make a difficult decision regarding their homes. There is of course the option to stay, but this would come with ongoing risk to homeowners. To help people through the process, property owners will be able to work with our Navigator and support services who are available to support these residents.”
Council considers that there are no reasonable options, such as remediation works, available to reduce the landslide risk to an acceptable level.