Monday, May 16, 2011

Cantabrians Will Prevail, Christchurch Quake

Mon 16.05.11. Nearly 12 weeks post Feb 22, magnitude 6.3 Christchurch quake, I did a short walk down New Brighton Mall & nearby streets. I saw "Cantabrians will prevail" chalk-scrawled on a pub wall, corner Marine Pde / Beresford St.

Further down Beresford St, I saw a quake demolition site where an old, brick theatre once stood. I'd known the old theatre as a second hand shop.

Images, quake damaged Beresford St:


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, New Brighton Cenotaph & "Cantabrians will prevail" sign on pub wall, cnr Marine Pde / Beresford St


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, Sports & Tackle shop, Beresford St, New Brighton


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, New Brighton Mall view of demolition site of old, brick theatre / second hand shop, Beresford St

Around the corner in Union St, I coolpixed the quake damaged, New Brighton Union Church, Methodist / Presbyterian. Like so many old, brick churches in Christchurch, with no quake reinforcement, bricks had fallen off gables & huge holes gapped & trashed the Union Church. The church would be demolished.

A sign on the church cordon fence read:

DANGER
KEEP OUT

Images, quake damaged Union St:


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake trashed New Brighton Union Church, Methodist / Presbyterian, Union St. The church was demolished


Over the last weekend, 10 000 people had attended a Council Expo asking for ideas for Christchurch post quake rebuild, so that Council could collate ideas & send a CBD rebuild plan to CERA. I liked ideas of a low build CBD, few high rises, with lots of walking spaces & greenery.

Images, quake damaged Seaview St & New Brighton Mall:


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake portaloo, Seaview St, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake damaged wooden bldg, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake damaged doors, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, wood braced shop, New Brighton Mall


A Danish architect, pitching for Christchurch rebuild work opined, that we all had to walk somewhere in the CBD, so recommended the CBD be walker & biker friendly.

I disliked a Dane patronizing Cantabrians, as Danes had done enough self-serving, do-gooder damage in the world already, with their Africa development aid programmes aggravating poverty & political corruption, Uganda & Zimbabwe for instance.

Using Danish expertise was a waste of money & an insult to Kiwi expertise. Christchurch Council was duped by Danish dazzle & used their pretty confections for the draft CBD rebuild plan. Who wanted to live in Copenhagen of the South Seas? What on earth did the Dane know about Christchurch rebuild on quake ravaged land?

Thirteen months later the Dane was no longer flavour of the month, with Council & CERA expecting plenty from CCDU producing a CERA Blueprint for Christchurch CBD. June 2012, CCDU's website:

"Our approach is based on international examples of successful redevelopment and rejuvenation, including:

* Solidere: Beirut Central District.
* London Docklands Development Corporation.
* Lower Manhattan Development Corporation."



16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, USAR / TF graffiti on shop window, New Brighton Mall. CLEAR meant no bodies


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, red stickered shop window, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, fence cordoned shops, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, shop window notices, New Brighton Mall


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, fence cordoned, red stickered shop, New Brighton Mall

A historian once said, "Historians need strong boots." Or jandals in my case. Post quakes, every time I coolpixed I felt history tapping my shoulder. I disliked Yank debris contractors thinking they could set up office in Christchurch & take over, when Jake had lost his hospitality job twice since the Feb 22 quake. There were many post quake vampires in Christchurch.

Images, quake damaged Marine Pde:


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, Pier Side Cafe, New Brighton Mall, Marine Pde


I wandered New Brighton Mall, Seaview Rd. Although some shops were closed, fence cordoned, some quake damaged, some semi-repaired, the mall was livelier than Christchurch CBD's Peterborough St I'd seen a week ago, by the No Go, red zone.

A hand written sign on a New Brighton Mall, glass door read:

HI ALL,

WE'RE OUT OF ACTION
HERE FOR THE NEXT
FEW MONTHS DUE
TO STRUCTURAL DAMAGE.
ANY QUESTIONS CALL...

LOVE,
MARK, JULES &
THE TEAM

I was tempted to have a late breakfast in one of the seaside restaurants, but coolpixed the pier instead, as it was a sunny, autumn morning.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, New Brighton Pier

New Brighton Beach was still verboten due to sewage polluted Avon-Heathcote Estuary. CONTAMINATED WATER signs & roadside portaloos had polluted dune beach access for months. E coli counts were still high in rivers & we were all in shit.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, CONTAMINATED WATER sign, Marine Pde dune, New Brighton Beach

The Press 17.05.11 reported, "In March about 34 000 cubic metres of wastewater flowed daily into the Avon River from 15 sites, while 12 400 cubic metres a day flowed into the Heathcote from 3 sites, Christchurch City Council figures show. The average E coli levels in March were... 111 times the national trigger levels for public health. The Avon River averaged... more than 70 times the guidelines."


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, wood braced house, Marine Pde, New Brighton


Never mind portaloos & chemical toilets in Christchurch & neighbouring towns. Three months post 22.02.11 quake, Leah & school students still used portaloos at their private London St school & Jake "flatted" in a garage with a chemical toilet, their sewage connections kaput, like 1 000s of others'.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake damaged house, Marine Pde, New Brighton


Although many other Christchurch schools had had road repairs done, London St where Leah worked had no post quake road repairs yet, although London St had been a main thoroughfare, gridlocked for weeks, due to Fitzgerald Ave & Avonside Dr, No Go, red zone closures.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake collapsed house, Marine Pde, New Brighton. The house was demolished


Near the school, Feb 22 liquefaction silt & parapet bricks fallen off Richmond Working Mens Club, still polluted London St pavements. A green, plastic, sewage tank still stood outside the school. The water tank & 6 taps in the park were long gone.


Tues 17.05.11. A day later, Council started patch repairing London St. As I passed that way daily, after dropping Luke off at Sullivan Ave tech, I was tired of all the pot holes, lumps & bumps. I wondered how long my shocks would last? Despite patch repairs, London St was parlous for years.

Sixteen months post 22.02.11 quake, London St was still disgusting - lumpy & bumpy outside Leah's school. So much for SCIRT's rebuild of horizontal infrastructure.

Dec 2015, Bealey Ave going to London St was still in a disgusting, lumpy, bumpy state of disrepair. Third World roads I'd driven in Africa were in better condition.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake damaged, double storey house, Marine Pde, New Brighton


16.05.11. A Southshore friend said three months post Feb 22 quake, she still boiled drinking water, still used a portaloo, her house still shook whenever winds blew. Her family had deserted her, she lived alone, so Leah regularly visited for a chat. Never mind aftershocks & Christchurch eastern suburbs needing 1 800 kms of sewer renewal post quake. With ongoing aftershocks, a nearby $600 000 house was still settling into liquefaction mud near Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

Months later, CERA would red zone Southshore land on Avon-Heathcote Estuary side, as quakes had caused too much lateral spreading, making the land too expensive to fix.


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake damaged, red stickered, wood braced house, Marine Pde, New Brighton


Driving home to Burnside. I stopped along Marine Pde to coolpix quake damaged houses behind dunes, one house collapsed, its front wall peeled off & a front room dropped about 2 m. Besides the Council red sticker on a window, the collapsed house had several signs:

Spray-painted on a window:

ROOF TILES
$3 ea

Spray-painted on a board:

CENTUR
ION
TILES
$3 ea

An EQC sign on a window read:

PUBLIC NOTICE

EQC and other parties have
declared this property stable
and of no threat to the safety
of any other parties.

Dated 15/03/11
PLEASE KEEP OUT

The EQC sign repeated what Council red stickers did. The duplication of inspections by govt dept EQC & Council caused confusion & was a waste of money. If a collapsed house was stable & no threat to anyone's safety, EQC was nuts!


16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, abandoned garage sale, Marine Pde, New Brighton



16.05.11. Feb 22 quake, CONTAMINATED WATER sign, Marine Pde, New Brighton

16.05.11. Another quake while I typed, shook my computer monitor & creaked our house: 12:41 pm, magnitude 4.4, depth 7 km, 10 km SW of Christchurch (Geonet).

Coda: Pre quakes & post quakes we'd often driven to New Brighton, as Luke had a girlfriend there & her parents were kind to us & Luke, providing Luke with picture framing & salvage jobs pre & post quakes. So we knew New Brighton quite well. We regularly exchanged books at the library by the pier. New Brighton struck me as run down & seedy, especially the mall at the best of times. Post quakes it was a mess.

There was lots of talk about development of New Brighton, but little action about rebuilds. Examples: A new indoor pool was mooted near the library & nearby roads revamped. On 13.02.15, The Press reported a Council master plan to revamp the mall area & a developer rebuilding the post quake, empty demolition site, corner Marine Pde / Beresford St. Before the corner bldg was quake demolished, I'd parked there & watched boozers in the pub garden merrily boozing in the sun.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Revitalised New Brighton Envisaged (The Press / Stuff Co)


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