The state of local emergency covering Christchurch City and Selwyn District has ended.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton took advice from the Rural Fire Authority, NZ Fire Service, Police and Civil Defence in making the decision not to further extend the state of local emergency.
Mayor Dalziel said that with 99 per cent of the fire perimeter described as contained and controlled and everyone who had to evacuate now allowed back to their homes, it was appropriate to start looking to the future and focus on recovery.
“In saying that, rural fire crews from Christchurch and Selwyn are still actively working to manage hotspots within the fire zone, which at more than 1800 hectares, is extensive. With possible changing conditions and the specific needs of the recovery work, we have agreed to take a precautionary approach and provide transition powers to our recovery managers.”
The Mayors have agreed to a period of transition to recovery as outlined in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016. It will apply for 28 days, giving powers to the recovery managers in both areas - Murray Sinclair in Christchurch and Al Lawn in Selwyn. This grants them the ability to manage access into and through the fire-affected area, and also allows greater coordination of the recovery effort.
Mayor Broughton said these powers might also be required to assist the firefighting effort if conditions change and there is a flare-up, or to manage specific aspects of recovery work such as dealing with rockfall issues or damaged trees.
“This may seem by some to be a conservative approach but we are erring on the side of caution in the hope that we won’t have to use the powers, however, they are there if we need them.”
Meanwhile, people wanting to contribute to the Port Hills' recovery effort can donate to the Port Hills Fire Restoration Fund, which is being managed by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust.
The fund is a collaborative effort between Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, government agencies, conservation groups and the public, and will support the recovery efforts on publicly owned conservation land and private land with important ecological values and conservation covenants.
Details about making a donation can be made on the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust website(external link).