On Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st CERA's “My Housing Options Expo” will be on at the Addington Raceway. In Roger Sutton's words (media release is here) it will be:
... a kind of one-stop shop for residents affected by the land decisions.
It will be an opportunity for them to talk to a whole range of organisations in one place, as they consider relocation and property decisions. Government agencies and local authorities will be there, along with business and private organisations such as insurance companies, the Real Estate Institute, banks, architects and designers.
There will also be seminars covering areas such as building a house or renting, buying a property and organising insurance.
We know that people need to have the full range of information and options available to make the choices that work best for their circumstances.
This is a great idea, however it is a bit too early because many people don't know their circumstances. One or more of the following issues and situations affect the majority of those the expo is intended to benefit:
- the full details of the payout packages have yet to be released (e.g. equity issues, land value, revaluations, the zoning appeal process)
- the ramifications of taking either package are not clear, nor of declining them both.
- difficulties with insurance companies need to be aired and sorted (reassessing properties previously classified as rebuilds, disputed scope of works documents and costings, pressure on clients to take the first option, mechanisms for dealing with disputes, guidelines/requirements to ensure insurance companies don't delay those wishing to take the second option to push them up against and past the government's deadlines for the payout package, etc.)
- there are 10,000 in the Orange Zones and an unknown number in the White Zones who won't know whether the Expo is relevant to them.
Will the expo provide an opportunity to discuss these essential ingredients of the payout package?
If this is one of a series of similar expos it will be useful. If it is to be a one-off then a disservice is being done to those who are supposed to benefit from this.
It would have been helpful if CERA had contacted a range of community organisations for their ideas on both content and timing. Maybe next time.