Monday, July 11, 2011

Post June 13 Quake, Colombo St Demolition: St Asaph St - Tuam St

Tue 05.07.11. Twilight, while wandering gridlocked St Asaph St, I came upon fence cordoned Colombo St / St Asaph St corner, where a digger on a pile of rubble, bashed a Feb 22 quake damaged, old, brick bldg to bits.

Images, quake damaged Colombo St:

05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, Colombo St demolition, condolence sign on CBD fence cordon

On April Fools morn I'd seen the part demolished bldg, when the fence cordoned, red zone was opened to public. The cordoned area crawled with NZDF soldiers during the national state of emergency.

Southwards a digger had demolished a bldg. Northwards Colombo St was devastated with sanitized demolition rubble, along one side of Colombo St all the way from St Asaph St, past Mollett St, to Tuam St crossing.


In the Feb 22, mag 6.3 quake, 16 people died in the vicinity: 2 by the old, brick bldg; 1 further down Colombo St; 4 by Mollett St junction; 8 died in a red bus, trapped by a collapsed, old, brick bldg; 1 person died near Tuam St.

Gotta ask:

1. Why were there so many unstable, unreinforced brick, business bldgs on Colombo St before the 2010-2011 quakes?

2. Why were the unstable, brick, business bldgs on Colombo St still occupied post Sept 4 quake damages, aftershocks & danger warnings?

05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, Colombo St demolition, relocation sign & flowers on the CBD, red zone fence cordon

05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, Colombo St demolition, flower & business sign on fence cordon

05.07.11. Feb 22 & June 13 quakes, Colombo St trashed from St Asaph St to Tuam St crossings. Old brick bldgs were demolished post quakes

Those deadly bldgs were all old, brick constructions. Demolition rubble lay around for months in the red zone, fence cordon, till I came along to see the final demolition. My coolpix were unique, as no one else photographed the twilight zone then.

Gridlocked traffic behind me, besides the digger operator, the only other person was an orange, Hi Vis vested workman standing on rubble behind Colombo St fence cordon, his truck parked on Colombo St. A condolence sign, condolence flowers & business signs hung on the fence cordon.


Sun 10.07.11. Leah & I drove past the Colombo St demolition site, while rubberneckers watched a digger loading rubble into a dump truck behind the fence cordon. CERA was waking up. Colombo St was being cleared of quake rubble at last, 5 months post Feb 22 quake & a month post June 13 quake.

I thought many demolitions were inefficient & wasted money, as heavy demolition machinery had to be transported to demolition sites more than once. There were scores of quake trashed bldgs around town, part demolished / made safe, then left for months to rot until someone came along to finish demolition.

Had demolishers & those who managed demolitions never heard of doing a job right first time? Or was making an already quake trashed bldg safe & then returning months later for final demolition a ploy to charge more money for drawn out, time wasting demolitions?


05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, Colombo St apocalypse view: Digger on demolition rubble & quake damaged bldgs, leaning Westpac left & Hotel Grand Chancellor, later demolished


05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, St Asaph St / Colombo St cordon view of quake damaged bldgs, leaning Westpac left, leaning Hotel Grand Chancellor middle, Holiday Inn right. All bldgs in the pic were demolished

05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, diggers on top of Colombo St quake rubble, St Asaph St / Colombo St cordon


05.07.11. Post June 13 quake, St Asaph St view of digger on top of truck, Colombo St cordon. Most of the Colombo St bldgs in the pic were demolished

Coda: In Feb 2015, an idiotic director took his musical about the red bus, crushed on Colombo St killing 8 people, to the Wellington Fringe Theatre Festival. He got the scorn he deserved from friends & families of the dead.

Luke was on a red bus too on Moorhouse Ave at the time of the Feb 22 quake. It would've been less than a minute behind the fatal red bus on Colombo St, going to the Bus Exchange on Lichfield St. Jake's bus driver avoided going down Colombo St & told passengers to get off the bus by Pak 'n Save, Moorhouse Ave. It was that close.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Musical theatre to recreate February 2011 earthquakes (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Earthquake bus musical labelled very crass (The Press / Stuff Co).

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