Monday, August 15, 2011

Snow Job, CBD Demolitions

Mon 15.08.11. Six months post deadly Feb 22 quake, ruined Christchurch CBD was still occupied by CERA & NZDF. The CBD was still fence cordoned & checkpointed by NZDF soldiers at various crossings. Although 3 months ago, on May 1 the National State of Emergency ended, NZDF soldiers still banned citizens from Christchurch cordoned CBD. A favoured few were allowed entry - CERA contractors & demolishers.

Every time I looked at the desolate CBD cordon, more demolitions had happened. Post Sept 4 quake, demolishers had demolished quake trashed bldgs, then speeded up demolitions post Feb 22 quake.

Post National State of Emergency handover by Civil Defence, CERA would rule Christchurch by diktat for 5 post quake years. CERA was already threatening cyclists riding past fallen rock cordons on Summit Rd with the law & threatening business persons to make up their minds about swifter demolitions. Never mind that insurers were obstacles to fast demolitions & rebuilds, moaning about risk. Shame on them. CERA should kick insurers' asses.

Council recently published its draft Central City Plan, a snow job for CBD rebuild on quake ruined, old CBD swampland. Mayor Parker & councillors were nuts, wanting to rebuild a smaller, greener CBD on quake ruined, old CBD swampland. Never mind ongoing aftershocks.

Considering 1 000s of people were having to red zone abandon their homes, then buy land & rebuild, Council's idea of an expensive light rail was mad. Running a fast bus system was a priority. My adult sons spent hours of wasted time waiting for slow buses, especially at night.

Some councillors had gone on a free trip to San Francisco, checking out post quake rebuild there & reckoned that qualified them for a rubbish rebuild. Christ Church Cathedral dean jabbered about a temporary Cardboard Cathedral, costing millions. The dean would soon resign & briefly become a trough feeding councillor.

Council management, staff & councillors had an entitlement ethos, like free lunches, coffees, parties, booze-ups, gifts & in the case of councillors, overseas trips & Council business directorships, all from the ratepayers' purse. Never mind 1 000s of citizens in dire straits post quakes. Chubby councillors didn't know the meaning of belt tightening in hard times.

There was better, safer land at rock solid, alluvial shingled, western Christchurch. Why repeat seedy "Heritage" mistakes at citizens' expense? Although Council had asked & continued to ask for citizens' ideas on a CBD rebuild, a rebuild on old CBD swamp land was fatally flawed, as it was Humpty Dumpty land. Geotech reporting was missing on the Central City Plan. Never mind the CBD Fault which damaged the CBD in the Boxing Day quake.

Mon 15.08.11. Two months post June 13 quake, when NZ was polar blasted, it hailed & snowed intermittently in Christchurch. Late that snowy afternoon, I drove along the CBD northern fence cordon, testing my new Samsung digital camera on snowy ruins & demolition desolation.

29 images, snowy Manchester St, Kilmore St:

15.08.11. Snowy demolition, roof rip off, St Lukes Anglican Church, cnr Manchester St / Kilmore St, post June 13 quake

Snow masked quake ruins, demolition & liquefaction mud. Snow flattered quakescapes, like the Central City Plan, but soon sludged.

15.08.11. Snowy demolition, roof rip off, St Lukes Anglican Church, cnr Manchester St / Kilmore St, post June 13 quake

Snowy cnr Manchester St / Kilmore St demolition: Snowy St Lukes Anglican Church roofs stood on the ground by demolished, stony remains. A banner on St Lukes demolition site read:

Grace Works
Demolitions & Recycling

I wandered snowy Kilmore St, past St Lukes & snapped Feb 22 quake ruined houses, still with USAR / TF graffiti, brightly contrasting against snow. A Council red sticker on a gate read:


15.08.11. Snowy, quake damaged house, by St Lukes Anglican Church demolition, Kilmore St, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Blue portaloo & snowy eastwards view along Kilmore St, towards Madras St cordon, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Snowy, quake damaged housing, Kilmore St, nr St Lukes Anglican Church, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Taiwan USAR / TF graffiti, Kilmore St, post June 13 quake

Eastwards, snowy Madras St crossing cordon, quake damaged Fire Service bldg stood, with its plastic tunnel-house for fire engines blocking Kilmore St. Demolished Oxford Tce Baptist Church was long gone.

15.08.11. Feb 22 quake & June 13 quake, snowy, quake damaged, Cancer Society bldg, Manchester St

15.08.11. Manchester St westwards view along Kilmore St snow cordon, towards Colombo St crossing, post June 13 quake. Most of the bldgs in the pic were demolished

Westwards, Kilmore St was pristine snow cordoned, all the way to Colombo St crossing, dead bldgs, surreal quakescape, visual silence. Most of the bldgs would be demolished. A fence cordon sign read:


15.08.11. Manchester St snow cordon view across Global Living & PGC bldg demolition. 18 people died when the PGC bldg collapsed in the Feb 22 quake. Empty CBD high rises beyond. Most of the bldgs in the pic were demolished

Further down Manchester St, I snapped snowy, demolished Global Living site, once masking PGC bldg demolition, Cambridge Tce, where 18 people died in the PGC bldg collapse, Feb 22. Two diggers were parked on PGC snow. A disrespectful sign on a cordon fence read:


What morons hung ads on cordon fences, knowing people died nearby?

15.08.11. Manchester St view of diggers parked on snowy PGC bldg demolition. 18 people died when the PGC bldg collapsed in the Feb 22 quake. Empty CBD high rises beyond

By snowy Manchester St Bridge, a NZDF soldier slunk from his wooden hut, checkpointing SUVs leaving the snowy CBD cordon. No demolitions carried on in the cordoned CBD that day - soft snow was too hard for digger operators & their steel diggers.

15.08.11. Manchester St / Cambridge Tce, red zone, NZDF checkpoint, post June 13 quake. Dead CBD bldgs beyond

Snowy Peterborough St demolition: In a hail shower & dodging snow sludge, I snapped 2 wooden ruins, half demolished & masked by snow. Across the road, by quake boarded Medlab bldg (later demolished) a modern office bldg was demolition ruin against white sky. That Kilmore St, snowy demolition could be seen from Peterborough St & Colombo St cordons. Another fence cordon sign read:


15 images, snowy Peterborough St:

15.08.11. Snowy house demolition, Peterborough St, post June 13 quake. The ruin was later demolished

15.08.11. Hail storm, snowy Peterborough St, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Medlab car park view of demolition next door, CBD snow cordon, Peterborough St, post June 13 quake. Medlab was demolished

15.08.11. Peterborough St view of a Kilmore St demolition, CBD snow cordon, post June 13 quake

Snowy cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St demolition: Northwards, I snapped snowy quakescapes while gawping cars sludged past - a small block of snowy Colombo St shops, including Whisky Galore & Mr Sushi, was dead-ended by a snowy demolition site. The shops were soon demolished.

16 images, snowy Colombo St, Kilmore St:

15.08.11. Snowy, quake damaged shops, dead-ended by demolition sites, Colombo St, post June 13 quake. The shops were demolished

Eastwards, snowy Kilmore St demolition, fence cordoned in pristine snow all the way to Manchester St crossing, dead, empty bldgs, waiting, surreal quakescape. Yellow daffodils hung on a demolition site, cordon fence. A sign on the cordon fence read:







 CERA apartheid reigned supreme in Christchurch CBD.

15.08.11. Snowy demolition, cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St, post June 13 quake

Southwards, down fence cordoned, snowy Colombo St, quake collapsed Christ Church Cathedral tower could be seen. Yellow flowers hung on the cordon fence.

15.08.11. Snow cordoned Colombo St / Kilmore St crossing, view down Colombo St to Christ Church Cathedral collapsed tower, post June 13 quake. Most of the bldgs in the pic were demolished

Westwards, snowy Kilmore St, past snowy Town Hall, Convention Centre, Crowne Plaza Hotel & Copthorne Hotel, all empty, cordoned quake ruins, facades looking OK from afar, but quake broken bldgs. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Copthorne Hotel & Convention Centre awaited demolition.

15.08.11. Snow cordoned, cnr Kilmore St / Colombo St, dead Town Hall right, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Colombo St crossing, western view of snow cordoned Kilmore St. Quake trashed Town Hall left. Beyond Crowne Plaza Hotel & Copthorne Hotel awaited demolition, post June 13 quake

Snowy cnr Victoria St / Salisbury St crossing, demolition: snowy, Jubilee Clock Tower, steel, gold painted stars glinting, late afternoon westwards, by snowy, Victoria Mansions; Strategy bldg, snowy, demolition; opp cnr, snowy, demolition, glassy bldg gone, orange digger parked on snow.

7 images, snowy Victoria St:

15.08.11. Strategy bldg, snowy demolition, cnr Victoria St / Salisbury St, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Snowy Victoria St / Salisbury St / Montreal St crossing. Jubilee Clock Tower & Victoria Mansions behind, post June 13 quake

15.08.11. Parked, orange digger, snowy demolition, cnr Victoria St / Salisbury St, post June 13 quake

I was getting hypothermic, so I drove home to snowy Burnside, my car heater full blast.

My new Samsung zoomed 5x giving more magnitude, like Christ Church Cathedral's desolation, opposed to my kaput Nikon's 4x.

Monday night it snowed more. Tuesday Christchurch & Port Hills were snowed under.

*Wandered Manchester St, Kilmore St, Peterborough St, Colombo St, Victoria St.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See CERA Demolitions

1 comment:

  1. I responded to a Canterbury University, geography student's email request to link & archive this post, to develop interactive GIS mapping software to archive images & content under supervision of prof Eric Pawson, The student also requested info about copyright. It looked like a varsity scam to inherit bloggers' intellectual property.