Thursday, January 5, 2012

Green Zone: Baker St, Rawson St, Sinclair St, New Brighton

Fri 06.01.12. According to CERA Landcheck website our Heath St, Burnside land was green zone. The whole of Heath St was green zone. All 36 houses were built on shingle, minimal quake damage, few repairs to be done.

2 images, Heath St:

06.01.12. Green zone, Heath St, Burnside, no liquefaction mud, nor serious damage, after 9 500 quakes, 04.09.10 quake - 23.12.11 quake swarm

Over the last 16 months in Heath St & in Burnside, we'd experienced shaking & jolting in 1 000s of quakes, but no liquefaction. No mud.

Eastern suburbs, like New Brighton, were built on sand or swampland. Post quakes, eastern suburbs regressed to mud.

According to The Press, 05.01.12, we'd experienced 9 500 quakes & aftershocks, so far, since the 7.1 mag quake, 4 Sept 2010. The most recent quake swarm started on 23.12.11, just before Xmas in Pegasus Bay. Almost 2 weeks later, yesterday morn, a 4.8 mag aftershock woke us up. "A wavy one," opined Leah, "Not as vicious as jolting, shaky ones."

Trouble with CERA land zoning was that there were glaring discrepancies & anomalies in geotech engineers, Tonkin & Taylor's zoning, as green zoners in eastern suburbs like New Brighton, not only had to endure shaking & jolting (like us in Burnside) but had to dig themselves out of liquefaction mud, quake after quake. Something stank in CERA / Tonkin & Taylor land zoning.

Continuing my New Brighton wanderings, I parked my car by Bowhill Rd / Keyes Rd traffic circle, as I wanted to see nearby Baker St, Rawson St & Sinclair St, all mostly green zoned, between Avon River & Rawhiti Domain, near the coast.

3 images, Bowhill Rd:

06.01.12. Serial quake trashed Bowhill Rd / Keyes Rd traffic circle, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

The traffic circle was badly liquefactioned by the Feb 22 quake. Patchy repairs were done post quake. Eleven months post Feb 22 quake, liquefaction raised bricks were stacked on the traffic circle. Roads were still lumpy & bumpy.

Post quakes, Christchurch roads were atrocious. It was time council CEO Tony Marryatt earned his decadent salary & got roads repaired properly. Hopefully with new sewage & water pipes laid on roadsides, rather than in the middle of roads, as an uncountable number of quake-raised manholes were destroying vehicle suspensions.

By the traffic circle, I snapped pics of by-election billboards of prospective councillors, including quake trashed Christchurch Cathedral's dean, Peter Beck who became a councillor, briefly. Another billboard touted David East who became a councillor at a later election, after Beck left.

06.01.12. Peter Beck by-election board, cnr Marriotts Rd / Bowhill Rd, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Mayor Parker & some councillors had no shame, voting for CEO Marryatt's salary, $538, 529 p/a, which insulted citizens who'd endured so many hardships during the quakes: deaths; job, business, home losses; liquefaction flooding; digging liquefaction mud from properties quake after quake; water & power cuts; sewage connections destroyed; stinking roadside portaloos & plastic sewage tanks; chemical toilets; juggernaut excavation & demolition machinery & trucks; sewage sucker trucks; negotiations with EQC, insurers, CERA, builders; disintegrating roads; forced relocations; financial hassles.

Green zoning by Tonkin & Taylor for CERA was crazy. CERA's Landcheck website zoned the following for New Brighton roads I wandered:

Baker St: 176 properties, 169 green zone, 7 red zone.
Rawson St: 31 properties, 25 green zone, 6 red zone.
Sinclair St: 81 properties, all green zone.
New Brighton Rd: 249 properties, 2 green zone, 247 red zone. (I only walked a short length that day).

Green zone: Repairs / rebuild could begin.

Red zone: Land repair would be prolonged & uneconomic. Land to be abandoned. Payout negotiations with NZ National govt / CERA & / or insurers & relocations needed.

Those New Brighton streets were inundated with liquefaction mud, quake after quake. Burnside green zone housing had no mud after quakes, no mud digging. New Brighton green zone had mega mud digging post quakes.

New Brighton green zoners would spend lots of money repairing house foundations on shifting sands, whereas Burnside green zoners would have less house foundation expenses on firm shingle.

New Technical Categories for green zone housing were as slippery as swampland shifting sands. Green zone Technical Categories were TC1, TC2, TC3 for house foundations. Our Burnside house was TC1, with no liquefaction & would require no foundation rebuild. TC3 housing was liquefaction damaged & required expensive foundation rebuilding.

About 28 000 houses were green zoned TC3 by CERA, doomed to expensive foundation repairs, due to severe liquefaction & doomed to resale hassles. Why were 6 500+ red zone houses & 28 000 TC3 houses built on severely liquefaction prone land in the first place? It's not as if previous Councils didn't know the dangers of liquefaction, as NZ had a history of terrible quakes.

The biggest anomaly was that CERA's pet, geotech engineers, Tonkin & Taylor reported that it was OK to build anywhere in red zoned, Christchurch CBD, despite the CBD being a disaster zone on top of the CBD Fault, with bldgs collapsed left, right & centre & the CBD severely liquefactioned due to closeness to Avon River. Something really stank in the state. Of course 5 Tonkin & Taylor staff would be awarded by NZ National govt in the 2013 New Year Honours Awards.

I wandered down one side of part cleaned Baker St & returned to my car along the other side. There were quake damaged houses, some already abandoned, with overgrown gardens. Most Baker St houses were inhabited.

Months ago, deputy mayor Button defended Council workers doing gardening in the red zone CBD, while citizens were banned from the CBD. (Still banned 11 months post Feb 22 quake). It was about time Button got Council workers attending to overgrown gardens, verges & demolition sites in suburbs where ratepayers actually lived.

Post quakes, natural growth rapidly took over demolition sites & abandoned red zone properties. That showed the Garden City image had nothing to do with councillors & Ellerslie Flower Show, but had everything to do with ratepayers' gardening pride, making Christchurch the Garden City it was. Christchurch was now Weed City.

I watched sewage, sucker trucks clearing quake clogged drains on Dennitt St, off Baker St. Sucker trucks had roamed quake trashed Christchurch streets ever since the 04.09.10 quake, clearing trashed drains & sewage pipes.

59 images, Baker St:

06.01.12. Green zone, green, plastic, sewage tank, Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Sucker trucks clearing quake clogged drains, Dennitt St off Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Rubbish bin, overgrown garden, Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Quake damaged housing, Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

There was much liquefaction damage to Baker St road surface, pavements & driveways. Most of the mud was already cleared by contractors. A water tanker drove past spraying water. It wasn't much good, as the water soon dried & Baker St citizens still had to put up with liquefaction dust. On Baker St, I got that familiar, creepy feeling again, while wandering amongst ghost bldgs.

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Gresham Tce, off Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

01.06.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Cnr Baker St / New Brighton Rd: quake damaged curbs. The walkway on Avon River stop bank was closed.

06.01.12. Sewage, sucker truck. Liquefactioned cnr Baker St / New Brighton Rd, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Quake closed walkway, Avon River stop bank, New Brighton Rd, opp Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Overgrown garden, cnr Baker St / New Brighton Rd, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned pavement & driveway, Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Baker St pavement: Between a green, plastic, sewage tank & a hole by a fence, stinking water leaked across the pavement onto the road. Quakes had degraded Baker St to Third World status. Likewise other eastern suburb streets.

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

During the 1980s, I'd lived & worked in the Negev Desert, Israel & Namaqualand sand veld, RSA. Desert winds blew sand onto town streets. Sand was cleared by road maintenance vehicles. Liquefaction sand in Baker St & other Christchurch, liquefactioned streets, was worse than wind blown sand I'd seen in desert towns. Desert sand was clean. Liquefaction sand was full of crap.

06.01.12. Leaky pipe by green, plastic, sewage tank, Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefactioned Baker St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

New Brighton Rd to Rawson St: Some quake damaged, abandoned houses, with overgrown gardens. They were a fire hazard & open invitation to thieves, squatters & arsonists. It was about time Marryatt's precious Council workers did some mowing.

13 images, New Brighton Rd, Rawson St:

06.01.12. Red zone, quake trashed house, New Brighton Rd, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Cnr New Brighton Rd / Rawson St: Quake tilted power pole & tilted Telecom cubicle by a dairy. Liquefaction damaged pavement.

06.01.12. Red zone, quake damaged cnr New Brighton Rd / Rawson St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Rawson St: Liquefaction damaged road & pavements. Most houses were inhabited. Some abandoned houses had overgrown gardens.

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefaction damaged Rawson St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

46 images, Sinclair St:

Cnr Rawson St / Sinclair St: Deep liquefaction damage, especially road curbs. Mud was already cleared.

06.01.12. Green zone, liquefaction damaged cnr Rawson St / Sinclair St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Sinclair St: Lots of liquefaction mud still, post 23.12.11 quake swarm. A yellow, McLaren contractor, water truck, a yellow tractor with roller brush & grader blade & a white, Bobcat digger with roller brush, all cleared away liquefaction mud. There was some quake damaged housing with overgrown gardens, like a wood braced house on the road bend. Most houses were inhabited.

06.01.12. Roads contractor, yellow tractor cleaning 23.12.11 quake swarm mud off green zone, Sinclair St

06.01.12. Green zone, quake damaged Sinclair St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Green zone, western suburb, Burnside: Clean. No liquefaction mud. No flooding. No quake dust.

Green zone, eastern suburb, New Brighton: Dirty. Filthy liquefaction mud. Flooding. Quake dust.

No wonder CERA had to invent green zone TC1, TC2, TC3 to include such anomalies. Never mind potential flooding in quake sunk, green zones after heavy rains.

06.01.12. Green zone, quake damaged Sinclair St, post 23.12.11 quake swarm

Fri 06.01.12, 2.20 pm, 5.0 mag quake, 5 km depth, 10 km NE of Christchurch. Rumbled below our Heath St home, jiggled my computer screen while I typed, strong enough for me to hold the screen steady. Trembled pot plant leaves on our computer table. As we lived about 10 kms from Pegasus Bay, that 5 mag quake epicentre was about 20 km from Burnside.

8.04 pm, 4.7 mag, 11 km depth, 20 km E of Christchurch.

Sat 07.01.12, 1.21 am, 5.2 mag, 15 km depth, 20 km E of Christchurch (GeoNet). Rocked our house.

Luke told me, on Fri afternoon he & girlfriend were walking Avon- Heathcote Estuary, low tide flats, when a smaller quake struck. They felt mud moving underfoot & watched marine puddles moving. Muddy hell!

I told Luke: "Run for a high spot, or shin up a drain pipe onto a roof, if a tsunami hits. Have an escape plan!"

Sat evening, 07.01.12. Mayor Parker announced on TV that a long-planned tsunami warning system, with sirens at coastal points from Brooklands, around Banks Peninsula, to Birdling flats, would be done. About time!

Pre 2011 Xmas, Royal Commission of Inquiry hearings: Given ghastly revelations, about a Council suppressed Jan 2011, McNulty / Griffith report, complaining about Council safety issues when doing red / yellow / green stickers for quake-weak bldgs, post 4 Sept 2010 quake, I thought Council wasn't interested in safety & health of its citizens during quakes, aftershocks & tsunamis. Parker had jabbered lots about CBD restart & rebuild plans, but little about citizens' safety.

*Wandered Heath St, Bowhill Rd, Baker St, New Brighton Rd, Rawson St, Sinclair St.


Six months later, in 2012 the tsunami warning was installed - a series of loudspeakers on power poles, for sirens to blast for ten minutes should a tsunami arrive. A signal for residents to evacuate fast. The sirens would be tested twice yearly, for some minutes on spring and autumn daylight saving days. (The Press 19.06.12).

19.06.12. Baker St residents wanted a CERA review of their TC3 green-blue zone housing, unhappy with their green-blue zoning. They wanted to go red zone & cash in on their quake damaged properties, instead of lengthy hassles, with years of waiting for geotech reports, repairs & inevitable devaluing of their properties.

The snag with Baker St & other streets close to Avon River, like Pratt St, Rawson St, Sinclair St, Palmer St, Waygood St, Bower Ave... was that housing near Avon River was badly liquefactioned. Liquefaction damage lessened the further properties were from Avon River. All that ground water caused liquefaction pressure in sandy soils. Post quakes, over many months of aftershocks, there was also sliding / tilting / sinking of housing towards Avon River, due to quake lateral spreading / slumping.

Post quakes, driving along Owles Tce & New Brighton Rd at Avon River high tide, one could see that New Brighton Rd had quake sunk & that Avon River bed had quake risen, as river water level was above road level, or at road level. If it wasn't for the post quake, stop bank along New Brighton Rd, the road & nearby quake trashed housing would be permanently flooded.

Post quakes, New Brighton Rd was the worst road in Christchurch - full of pot holes, buckling, undulations, patch repairs & sporadic flooding.

Although large areas of Christchurch had sunk during quakes, there was lots of chirping about land zoning by Tonkin & Taylor & CERA, but not a cheep from CERA about future flooding due to quakes.

In future there'd be flooding after heavy rains, in areas which sank during quakes, like Flockton Basin, off Warrington St. In 2014 Flockton Basin housing was flooded several times after heavy rains.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Parker dismisses abandoning city (Stuff Co / The Press).

See Most Baker St residents want to see red (Stuff Co / The Press).

See $48m plan to stop Flockton flooding (The Press / Stuff Co). 


  1. Responded to an email query about a Baker St house.

  2. Responded to an email from Canterbury University, Hazard & Disaster Management query, wanting to use photos about the liquefaction cleanup in Christchurch, specifically Rawson St & Sinclair St.