Transfer work for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor ahead of schedule

21 May 2020

Work to prepare about 600 hectares of Crown-owned red zone land in Christchurch’s Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor (OARC) for transfer is ahead of schedule, despite Covid-19 challenges.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages the residential red zones on behalf the Crown, is responsible for reconfiguring nearly 5,500 titles in the OARC before transferring the land to the Christchurch City Council (CCC). This process involves stopping roads, cleansing and amalgamating property titles, and creating new fit-for-purpose lots.

LINZ Group Manager Business Strategy Lydia Bloy says one of the first steps has been reviewing the interests of each title to see if anyone had rights to the land – for example an easement, a covenant or a mortgage.

“Despite Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve reviewed more than 16,300 interests and are six weeks ahead of schedule.

“This means we’ll be able to hit the ground running when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. We’re on-track to have all Crown-owned OARC land bundled into packages and transferred to the Council in about a year’s time.”

Ms Bloy says reconfiguring nearly 5,500 titles in less than 18 months is a major undertaking and there is still a significant amount of work to be done, so LINZ is doing everything it can to speed the process up.

“To put the scale of this work in perspective, it took us two-and-a-half years to reconfigure about 1,000 titles in the Waimakariri residential red zone, including the sale and purchase agreement with Waimakariri District Council.

“To accelerate the surveying process, we’re using special Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 powers and a tailored survey standard from the Surveyor-General. The approach simplifies the road stopping process and means many of the new lot boundaries will be accepted from existing survey plans.

“Our key priority is ensuring that the reconfiguration process is carried out with care so as to protect private property rights and ensure the Council can use the land straight away for regeneration purposes.”

Ms Bloy says the next step is to develop scheme plans that will show new lots to be created, any roads to be stopped and new or retained interests.

The transfer of the OARC is part of the Global Settlement Agreement, a contract between the Crown and Council to finalise the remaining costs and responsibilities for Christchurch’s earthquake recovery and regeneration.

In addition to transferring the OARC land next year, Crown-owned residential red zone land in Southshore/New Brighton and Brooklands is expected to be transferred to the Council in mid-2020. LINZ is working closely with the Council to ensure a smooth transition, so the local community can continue to use the land for recreational purposes.

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