Friday, November 4, 2011

Politicians, Restart Cashel Mall. Libraries Closed

29.10.11. After their speeches at Restart Cashel Mall, PM Key & Brownlee, Minister for Earthquake Recovery, worked the crowd along Cashel Mall.

As elections were looming, Key & Brownlee worked hard at the hustings.

Eight months post Feb 22 quake, Cashel Mall restarted, after some of the CBD red zone cordon was opened from Bridge of Remembrance to Colombo St at The Crossing, where the red zone resumed. In red zone CBD, bldgs were closed, dead, post quake demolitions continuing.

During the Feb 22 quake, four people were killed by falling masonry on Cashel Mall.

28 images, Cashel Mall:

Post 2010-2011 quakes, seedy, old Cashel Mall bldgs were demolished & were replaced by 27 shipping container shops in north & south precincts along Restart Cashel Mall. Non shopping demolition sites became car parks.

29.10.11. Part of the 10 000 crowd listening to speeches at Restart Cashel Mall

29.10.11. CERA Minister Brownlee Speech, Restart Cashel Mall

29.10.11. PM Key Speech, Restart Cashel Mall, CERA boss Sutton right

29.10.11. CERA Minister Brownlee, crowd working, Restart Cashel Mall

29.10.11. PM Key, crowd working, Restart Cashel Mall

Post Feb 22 quake, Bishopdale Library & Community Centre was reopened to the public on 04.03.11. It closed again on 03.11.11, with the following Community News report, 07.11.11:

"The Bishopdale Community Centre and Library will be closed until further notice. City Council said the decision was made after they received the results of a detailed engineering evaluation for the building. Engineers have recommended the building should be vacated until they complete more assessments and until earthquake strengthening work is also completed."

A Council sign on a Bishopdale Library door read:


That blue sign was the standard sign used to close all Christchurch public libraries. During the quakes, our lives were ruled by prohibitory stickers & signs on buildings, pavements, roads & cordon fences. Citizens would respond with their own protest signs in future protests. Another sign read:


8 images, Bishopdale Library:

07.11.11.Bishopdale Community Centre & Library closed after 8 months of crowded use, after reopening shortly post Feb 22 quake

Pity Council didn't publish the names of idiots who decided to open Bishopdale Community Centre on 04.03.11, thus endangering the public to aftershocks hazards & continuing to allow public use during the June 13 quake period & beyond. During that time I'd often exchanged books at Bishopdale Library & Fendalton Library.

07.11.11. Bishopdale Community Centre & Library, concrete brick & slab construction. See weak concrete columns. Closed after 8 months of crowded use, after reopening shortly post Feb 22 quake

07.11.11. Weak cnr concrete column, Bishopdale Community Centre & Library, closed 8 months after crowded use, after reopening shortly post Feb 22 quake

I was annoyed: For 8 months, Council risked people's lives in a quake unstable bldg. No fence cordon, no danger signs, no NZDF checkpoint soldiers / security, as per CBD red zone cordon. Post Feb 22 quake & June 13 quake, whenever I used Bishopdale Library it was crowded, as most other Council libraries were quake closed. 1 000s of citizens over the last post quake months used Bishopdale Community Centre & Library.

Bullshitting authorities weren't to be trusted, especially Council, as they were well aware of unreinforced masonry bldgs dangers, long before the 2010-2011 quakes. (See The Press 15.11.11 & TVNZ articles). Council was jumpy while engineering codes were revised post quakes & closed Council bldgs left, right & centre, fearing being sued by citizens if future quake fatalities happened.

In 2006, architect Sir Miles Warren wrote a letter to the Council, warning about dangers of unreinforced masonry bldgs. He said, "The Council plays Russian roulette with its citizens."

So Council knew of quake dangers to weak bldgs 4 years before the 2010-2011 quakes. Council just moaned about costs & risks. No wonder the red zone cordon, cops & NZDF soldiers were used to stop public scrutiny of seedy, CBD bldgs being demolished so many months post Feb 22 quake.

Mar 2013. Warren produced the original Victorian plan for a wooden cathedral to replace quake trashed Christ Church Cathedral. After more years of Christ Church Cathedral hullabaloo by heritage fanatics, Warren's wooden cathedral idea would not prevail.

The Press 15.11.11. Mayor Parker:

"We had estimated the [cost of strengthening] heritage buildings, around 500, would be somewhere in the region of $200 million.

It's not hard to see the overall total potentially facing our city would have been in excess of $1 billion. This is a problem that faces the whole country in terms of risk."

Parker opined on repairing so-called heritage bldgs, but the greater need was to make ordinary bldgs safe! All those unreinforced, masonry bldgs with loose parapets, gables & unsecured walls needed fixing.

Parker expediently omitted other costs: What cost, the Feb 22 quake dead & injured? What cost, to traumatized & grieving families? What cost, the memorial service for quake dead in Hagley Park? What cost, the post quake CBD & suburban demolitions? What cost, the pre quake purchase of CBD bldgs from bankrupt developer Henderson? The latter used ratepayers'  money. What cost, repair & replacement of post quake Christchurch infrastructure? What cost Christchurch rebuild?

Would Council ever admit mea culpa to the families of those who died in the Feb 22 quake?

Considering Bishopdale Library crowding (& Fendalton Council Library crowding for that matter) & NZDF cordons around closed, dead, red zone, ruined CBD & weekend bus tours & twilight bus tours of CBD demolition sites & Hi Vis vested officials & St John ambulance & Red Cross personnel in weekend Cranmer Sq for CBD bus tourists, the Bishopdale Community Centre, reopening / closure was a disgrace.

It belied authorities' theme song about public safety when banning public from the red zone CBD. What about public safety in the suburbs? Minister for Earthquake Recovery Brownlee, CERA boss Sutton & Mayor Parker were asleep.

2 images, Greers Rd, Winston Ave:

07.11.11. Brownlee, Minister for Earthquake Recovery, election poster by constituency office, Greers Rd

Brownlee's Ilam constituency office, Greers Rd, was about 2 km from Bishopdale Library. Likewise Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation office, WINZ bldg, Winston Ave, was also about 2 km from Bishopdale Library.

A sign on the WINZ office window read:


07.11.11. Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service window, WINZ bldg, Winston Ave

When did Brownlee & Sutton visit Bishopdale Library to see its Stalinist, concrete brick & slab construction, thin concrete columns, wide beams & quake cracks in the walls? Never mind a Community Police office in Bishopdale Community Centre too.

*Wandered Cashel Mall, Bishopdale Library, Greers Rd, Winston Ave.

07.11.11. Heritage fanatics were on TV news again, protesting in Christchurch against CERA demolishing so-called heritage bldgs. Never mind 42 people killed by masonry falling from seedy, unreinforced bldgs in the Feb 22 quake. I doubted any heritage protesters had family killed by falling masonry?

The Press 08.11.11: At the Canterbury earthquakes Royal Commission of Inquiry, a self-serving Auckland University Associate Professor of Structural Engineering tried to justify 182 quake deaths, [185 roll revision] including 42 people killed by falling, unreinforced masonry bldgs, in the Feb 22 quake, with the following claptrap: "Many of the most dangerous buildings were already fenced off after September, and without this an estimated 110 more people would have been crushed by falling facades and walls."

Why were so many unreinforced masonry bldgs & unstable bldgs NOT fenced off, post Sept 4 quake & Boxing Day quake warnings & 1 000s of aftershocks warnings, before the deadly Feb 22 quake struck?

Given that the CTV bldg collapsed & burned during the Feb 22, mag 6.3 quake, killing 115 people, after CTV bldg was deemed safe with a Council green sticker & given the lexicon of seismic excuses used thereafter to explain away incompetence like, "force... acceleration... intensity..." there was no excuse for Council to green sticker Bishopdale Community Centre & Library for 8 months of public use post Feb 22 quake. Given that fiasco, incompetent Council "experts" hadn't learnt anything from the Feb 22 quake.

09.11.11. The Press: Media schmaltz about deconsecration of Christ Church Cathedral, 300 people bussed into Cathedral Sq (TVNZ) so the Cathedral could be part demolished for a rebuild. After expensive use of a temporary Cardboard Cathedral of course. After that money waste, I bet Anglicans would expect public donations for their Christ Church Cathedral rebuild?

Anglican church authorities dithered 8+ months to come to the simple deconsecration decision, after months of public exclusion from the red zone CBD, post Feb 22 quake, & visiting celebrities & clerics were allowed into the red zone, cordoned CBD to view ruins & a pompous ceremony using choir boys in hard hats & orange, Hi Vis vests to light fascist, roving searchlights, in a former Cathedral Sq ceremony, with lurid red lights illuminating Cathedral ruins. That time, choir boys wore crimson cassocks, sans hard hats.

Meanwhile, CERA told the public what shoes to wear when weekend & twilight bus touring CBD ruins from Cranmer Sq, gold coin donation expected for the privilege of seeing demolitions of rotten decisions by CBD bldg owners, who failed to quake-safe, reinforce their seedy, CBD bldgs, pre 2010-2011 quakes.

During that week, two old, wooden houses at Luke's Sullivan Ave tech were demolished. Luke said whenever diggers moved & bashed houses, his nearby workshop shook, like aftershocks.

The Press 16.11.11. News of a post quake housing development at Halswell - 1 400 new sections.

Thurs 17.11.11. 1.05 pm, 3.9 mag quake, 9 km depth, 10 km E if Lyttelton (GeoNet). Shook pot plant leaves on my computer table & rattled my ass.


Despite deconsecration of Christ Church Cathedral, it would be years before Anglicans versus heritage fanatics, demolition conflict resolved, as heritage fanatics obstructed demolition of Christ Church Cathedral by protests & court action delays.

2016. Despite public protests, court cases, a mediator between Anglicans & heritage fanatics & reams of media verbiage, Christ Church Cathedral impasse still wasn't resolved.

2017. The closed Bishopdale Community Centre & Library was demolished. Saturday 22.07.17: A brand new Bishopdale Community Centre & Library was opened next to the demolition site.

2018. Only with a change of NZ govt from National to Labour did Christ Church Cathedral repairs begin glacial movement again, when Labour's Dr Megan Woods took over Christchurch Regeneration duties from ex CERA minister Brownlee.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.


  1. My brother had his wedding reception in Bishopdale Community Centre in July 1982... looked bad enough back then!

    Love your passion Mark... onya!


  2. Scandalous state of affairs Sandy. Christchurch is still a very dangerous city.