Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1 Year Post 22.02.11 Quake, EXTREME DANGER, Christchurch CBD Red Zone

Wed 29.02.12. Last time I'd walked Christchurch red zone, CBD cordon was during the 25.07.11 snowstorm. In the interim the CBD red zone cordon had shrunk & I'd seen bits of the CBD red zone in various stages of quake trashings & digger demolitions. I was curious to see the new "tourist" cordon, as I'd seen new tourist maps on pavement signs, at Cashel Mall & Rolleston Ave, touting the red zone CBD.

I parked my car on Peterborough St & started my cordon wander down Manchester St. A NZDF soldiers' checkpoint checked contractors' vehicles entering & leaving the red zone at Manchester St Bridge, by Cambridge Tce. Across the road in the red zone I saw the PGC bldg demolition site, where 18 people died in the 22.02.11 quake.

The CERA occupied, red zone CBD was still in transition, from quake trashed, abandoned bldgs to CERA demolished bldgs. Many of the abandoned CBD bldgs I saw that day still had to be demolished by CERA.

14 images, Manchester St:

29.02.12. Red zone, NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St Bridge. Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) in red zone

A sign by checkpoint, orange, road cones read:


I continued along Cambridge Tce, past quake closed bldgs, with the red zone CBD louring the other side of Avon River. The red zone was dead, cordon fenced, bldgs closed for a year, post 22.02.11 quake. Some dead bdgs were demolished by CERA contractors, leaving wastelands, other dead bldgs were demolitions in progress.

29.02.12. Canterbury Manufacturers Association, orange digger, demolition in progress, cnr Manchester St / Cambridge Tce. The demolition site became a park

29.02.12. Cambridge Tce view of red zone, demolition in progress, Oxford Tce. The demo site became a car park for the Margaret Mahy Family Playground

Across Madras St Bridge at Oxford Tce Baptist Church demolition site, I looked at 185 Empty Chairs, painted white as an act of remembrance by Pete Majendie & placed on a 185 sq m grass patch, commemorating 22.02.11 quake dead.

On a table tribute book I wrote: "After 10 000 quakes, good on the artist."

A sign read:

                   185 Empty Chairs:
              a temporary art installation
reflecting on the loss of lives, livelihood and
                    living in this city
following the earthquake on 22 February 2011

 You are welcome to spend time in this space.
                                         Oxford Terrace
                                          Baptist Church
                                              est 1863

11 images, Madras St:

29.02.12. Pete Majendie's 185 Empty Chairs remembrance art, Oxford Tce Baptist Church, demolition site. Oxford Tce Baptist Church was rebuilt by 2017

Another sign read:

                         Thank you for visiting this
                             Remembrance Space.

                          You  may sit in any chair -
                        choose one that speaks to you
                       of those who died as a result of
                          the 22 February earthquake.

                       You are welcome to stay as long
                                    as you wish.

           Artist's statement:
           185 square metres of grass depicting new growth,
           185 white chairs all painted twice by hand as an act
           of remembrance.
           This installation is temporary - as is life.
                                                                Pete Majendie

Oxford Tce Baptist Church was rebuilt by 2017.

I followed the cordon fence down Madras St, to Latimer Sq & looked at desolate streets in the red zone, dead zone & demolition sites in & out of the red zone.

29.02.12. Red zone, Edmonds Clock Tower, Oxford Tce. The clock stopped at 12.51 pm when the 22.02.11 quake struck. Edmonds Clock Tower was later decapitated for repairs

29.02.12. Orange digger. Red zone, cordon fence along Madras St, going to Latimer Sq. All bldgs in the pic were demolished

29.02.12. Red zone, quake trashed Free Legal Help bldg, Madras St, between Oxford Tce & Armagh St crossings. The bldg was demolished for Margaret Mahy Family Playground car park

29.02.12. Red zone demolition site, cnr Madras St / Armagh St. Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) beyond

29.02.12. Madras St, W view, red zone, Armagh St. Forsyth Barr left became Crowne Plaza Hotel. PWC right, soon demolished

29.02.12. Red zone demolition site, cnr Madras St / Armagh St. The bldgs were demolished

10 images, Latimer Sq:

29.02.12. Latimer Sq, NE view, demolition sites between Gloucester St & Armagh St

29.02.12. Latimer Sq, W view, red zone, Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel), Gloucester St

29.02.12. Yellow digger. Latimer Sq, W view, red zone, demolition site & Newstalk ZB, later imploded

29.02.12. Red zone, quake trashed, abandoned, The Bicycle Thief, cnr Latimer Sq / Worcester St. The Bicycle Thief was demolished

29.02.12. Latimer Sq, W view, red zone, Worcester St

29.02.12. Yellow & orange diggers. Latimer Sq, red zone view, demolition sites, Hereford St. Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition right. Calendar Girls right, behind orange digger

29.02.12. Latimer Sq, red zone view, demolition sites, Hereford St. Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition left

29.02.12. Latimer Sq, S view, red zone demolition sites, incl deadly CTV before abandoned IRD bldg

By St Johns Anglican Church demolition site, the cordon fence constricted past Holden Blackwells (closed) overlooking the hallowed CTV bldg demolition site, where 115 people died in the Feb 22 quake. Holden Blackwells was demolished.

37 images, Madras St:

29.02.12. Yellow digger. St Johns demolition site view, red zone demolition sites, cnr Madras St / Latimer Sq. Arrow House demolition site in foreground. Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) right

29.02.12. St Johns demolition site view, red zone CTV demolition site, cnr Madras St / Cashel St. Les Mills gym behind

 29.02.12. Madras St view, red zone, abandoned IRD bldg & CTV bldg demolition site, Cashel St

29.02.12. Tributes & yellow diggers. Cnr Madras St / Cashel St, red zone, CTV demolition site & demolition sites view towards Hereford St. Torrens House behind was demolished in 2013

29.02.12. Red zone, cnr Madras St / Cashel St, cordon fence tributes to 115 dead at CTV bldg, 22.02.11 quake

As it was soon after the Feb 22 quake anniversary, fresh flowers, tribute pics & art works adorned the cordon fence by Cashel St crossing. A sign on the red zone, cordon fence read:

Please respect this site

In recognition of the special significance this site holds for the people of our
city and all those affected by the earthquakes, the Christchurch City Council
is working with Canterbury Museum to preserve aspects of our remembering.

Tributes may be left at this sight. Older tributes will be removed for archiving by
the Canterbury Museum to become part of the city's memory of the Canterbury
Earthquakes. Organic material will be composted and used in the city's gardens.

                                                      Canterbury            Christchurch
                                                      Museum                City Council

St Pauls Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church demolition site, diagonally opp CTV demolition site, also had floral tributes to the dead & the grieving. Cordon fence signs read:

Art For Canterbury!
With love from us at
St Pauls Trinity Pacific
Presbyterian Church


29.02.12. Red zone, cnr Madras St / Cashel St, demolished St Pauls Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church, tribute to 115 dead at CTV bldg across the road, 22.02.11 quake

A giant book tribute with sympathy messages read:

                For Grief

When you lose somebody you love
Your life becomes strange
The ground beneath you becomes
Your thoughts make your eyes

A pic of St Pauls Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church hanging on the cordon fence read:

Our Building's Gone!

White, yellow & green paper weaved the words FAITH HOPE LOVE into cordon fencing.

Another St Pauls sign giving details of church services read:

 We are
 on site

29.02.12. Yellow digger. Cnr Cashel St / Madras St, St Pauls Trinity Pacific demolition site, NW view, red zone CBD. All bldgs in the pic were demolished, except Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) left

Why was the CTV site only commemorated? PGC bldg, Cambridge Tce & Colombo St, between St Asaph St & Tuam St crossings, were also lethal. 18 people died at PGC collapse, Cambridge Tce & 16 people died on Colombo St, under collapsed bldgs, during the Feb 22 quake.

Behind the abandoned, IRD bldg by Bedford Row, an old ad on a brick wall was seen, after decades hidden by the demolished brick stable:


29.02.12. Red zone, Madras St view of Bedford Row

29.02.12. Red zone, old stable demolition site, cnr Madras St / Bedford Row

29.02.12. Red zone, demolition sites, cnrs Madras St / Lichfield St

Further along Madras St, I snapped desolate, red zone, Lichfield St & saw that red zone, Poplar Ln, where Jake had flatted pre quakes, was gone, demolished.

29.02.12. Red zone, cnr Madras St / Lichfield St, N view, IRD bldg left & demolition sites

29.02.12. Red zone, Madras St, W view of Lichfield St

29.02.12. Red zone, S view, cnr Madras St / Lichfield St

29.02.12. Red zone, part demolished bldg, cnr Lichfield St / Madras St

Along Madras St, by Tuam St crossing, another NZDF soldier checkpoint checked contractor access / egress in the red zone. A sign on the red zone, checkpoint fence read:


29.02.12. Red zone, NZDF checkpoint, cnr Madras St / Tuam St. Westpac, Holiday Inn, Hotel Grand Chancellor beyond. All would be demolished

29.02.12. Madras St, W view, red zone, Tuam St. Strongly built, old, PO bldg right survived the quakes

29.02.12. Cnr Madras St / Tuam St S view, red zone, Tech Music School, cnr Madras St / High St. Tech Music School survived the quakes

I wandered west along St Asaph St. At High St / Madras St crossing, a ubiquitous sign on the red zone, cordon fence read:


26 images, St Asaph St:

29.02.12. Red zone, Tech Music School, cnr Madras St / High St / St Asaph St crossing. Tech Music School survived the quakes

29.02.12. St Asaph St view, red zone, High St

Further along St Asaph St, demolition progressed at McKenzie Willis. A red zone, cordon fence sign read:


29.02.12. Red zone, cordon fence & quake trashed, brick bldg, St Asaph St

29.02.12. Red zone, demolition site, St Asaph St

29.02.12. Yellow digger. St Asaph St view, red zone, demolition sites towards Tuam St. Holiday Inn left, old Post Office right. Holiday Inn was demolished, Nov-Dec 2012

Further along St Asaph St, I passed another NZDF soldier checkpoint, Manchester St N side. From Manchester St checkpoint, more demolitions were seen by Tuam St / High St crossing in the red zone.

29.02.12. Daisies. Theme Basic demolition site, cnr St Asaph St / Manchester St

29.02.12. Manchester St, NZDF checkpoint view of steel braced, McKenzie Willis & red zone, demolition sites

29.02.12. Red zone, N view, Manchester St, NZDF checkpoint

29.02.12. Yellow digger. Red zone, Odeon Theatre, Manchester St, NZDF checkpoint. Odeon Theatre was demolished, but Tuam St facade was preserved

I shopped weekly at Moorhouse Ave, Pak 'n Save & passed Manchester St, NZDF checkpoint. It had hand written signs on the cordon fence which read:





A 30 km, road sign showed the speed limit for contractors working in the red zone CBD. The CERA & NZDF banning signs insulted the public, who'd endured 10 000 quakes & would be banned from Christchurch's red zone CBD for 28 months. While NZ National govt, in the guise of CERA, cherry-picked private, CBD land for NZ National govt's daft rebuild projects.

29.02.12. St Asaph St view, red zone signs, cordon fence, NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St

Christchurch's govt decreed, militarized apartheid, showed contempt for citizens. It reminded me of apartheid SA, where black adults each had an ID pass book & white adults each had another ID, a so-called "Book of life."

The plethora of WARNING signs, hanging on red zone, demolition site fences & at NZDF checkpoints, showed Christchurch apartheid. The excuse being public safety of course. After enduring 18 months of quakes, Christchurch adults were treated like kids by NZ National govt's lackeys, CERA & NZDF.

29.02.12. St Asaph St, N view, red zone, Odeon Theatre, later demolished

29.02.12. St Asaph St, S view, demolition site, cnr St Asaph St / Manchester St. Quake damaged, old station, clock tower & Port Hills beyond. The old station was demolished, Oct-Nov 2012

29.02.12. St Asaph St view, red zone, old Council, boarded bldg, Tuam St. The old Council bldg was demolished in 2013-2014 for the permanent bus exchange

29.02.12. Yellow digger. St Asaph St view, demolition sites both sides of Colombo St

With all the demolitions going on over the last 18 quake months, I could see right across desolate demolition sites from one street to another, sometimes across several blocks of flattened demolition wasteland. e.g. From St Asaph St, I looked across a demolition site to Colombo St & beyond to new car parks made from demolition sites by Colombo St.

That was the pattern of demolitions in the red zone CBD: quake ravaged wasteland, ready for rebuild. It remained to be seen what rebuild happened, if any? Council already had a plan for CBD rebuild, (zilch plan for suburban housing rebuild) but CBD rebuild depended on the courage of insurers & land owners. In Sept 2012, CERA would produce a CBD Blueprint based on the Council plan.

The Press 05.03.12 reported rebuild of BNZ House, Cathedral Sq.
Old BNZ House was being demolished. The daft architect ignored Council's post quakes, 7 storey height limit, wanting to erect a new 13 storey BNZ on quake prone land. I doubted many people would want to work in the new monstrosity. (BNZ would stay part demolished by Cathedral Sq for years, due to asbestos hazard).

The problem with the Royal Commission was that it only investigated a few, quake failed high rises, like Forsyth Barr. CERA was demolishing many more CBD high rises, which could've been investigated by the Royal Commission, like Westpac, Clarendon Tower, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Copthorne Hotel, Riverlands House, Police Central, PWC, Harcourts, Securities House & more.

Big snag with CERA red zone, apartheid: no public scrutiny of quake failed bldgs & their demolitions. Many architect design & engineering mistakes would be buried.

It looked like the Royal Commission by omissions of quake prone, high rises would be allowing architects & engineers in future to get away with repeating old design & construction mistakes.

The way things went with delays by insurers & reinsurers & blame-shifting about pre- quake, death trap bldgs by owners & engineer inspectors at the Royal Commission, CBD rebuild if any, would take decades.

Never mind suburban housing rebuild, where nothing was happening 18 month post Sept 4 quake. As for roads & bridges, they were still crap.

I wandered down Colombo St, past demolition sites, by Mollet St - Tuam St crossings, where 16 people died, including 8 red bus passengers, in the 22.02.11 quake.

Cnr St Asaph St / Colombo St to cnr Colombo St / Tuam St: As there was no "Please respect this site..." signage, just dirty demolition sites turned into car parks, people killed there by falling masonry were ignored by Council & Canterbury Museum. I bet tourists tramping over that deadly, demolition area to the new, temporary, Bus Exchange & Restart Cashel Mall hadn't a clue.

12 images, Colombo St:

29.02.12. St Asaph St, N view, demolition sites, Colombo St to Mollet St & Tuam St crossings. 16 people were killed by falling masonry, 22.02.11 quake, Colombo St

29.02.12. Colombo St view, red zone demolition sites & serial quake damaged bldgs. The high rises would all be demolished: Westpac, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Holiday Inn, old Council bldg

29.02.12. Greening The Rubble, plants & rubble seats, demolition site car park, Colombo St

29.02.12. Colombo St, E view, red zone, fence cordoned Lichfield St. All bldgs on the left of the pic were demolished

Down Colombo St, a sign on the red zone, cordon fence read:


29.02.12. Red zone Colombo St, abandoned sky bridge nr The Crossing, Cashel St

29.02.12. Red zone, pre quake, abandoned, Bus Exchange bldg, Colombo St, nr The Crossing, Cashel St

By The Crossing, at Cashel Mall, red zone fence, I saw KFC demolition in the red zone. McDonald's & Burger King across Colombo St in the red zone were still intact, but would be demolished too.

29.02.12. Cashel Mall, E view, red zone, The Crossing, Cashel St / Colombo St crossing. Most bldgs in the pic were demolished

29.02.12. Cashel Mall view, red zone, KFC demolition, Colombo St

29.02.12. Cashel Mall view, red zone McDonald's. Glimpse of serial quake ruined Christchurch Cathedral beyond. McDonald's was demolished

Since I'd last passed Restart Cashel Mall, shipping container shops, the retail area had included takeaway food stalls, which used to frequent the pre-quakes, Arts Centre precinct.

6 images, Cashel Mall:

29.02.12. Restart Cashel Mall, shipping container shops

I wandered past Remembrance Arch, with 4 surveyors in orange, Hi Vis vests rubbernecking like tourists, while tourists stood at nearby Hereford St cordon fence staring into the red zone. A sign on the red zone, cordon fence read:


29.02.12. Fence cordoned, post quakes, Bridge of Remembrance, Cashel Mall

Along Oxford Tce at a restaurant demolition site, a German firm touted "liquefaction" drill rigs in two shipping containers by Avon River. Quake closed, Arts Centre market stalls would soon trade there.

6 images, Oxford Tce, Hereford St:

29.02.12. German drill rigs, "liquefaction" ad display in shipping container, restaurant demolition site, Oxford Tce

29.02.12. Rubberneckers staring E into red zone, Hereford St, nr Restart Cashel Mall. Most bldgs in the pic were demolished

29.02.12. Cnr Hereford St / Oxford Tce view, red zone, serial quake trashed, metal braced, Our City, old, brick bldg, nr Worcester St Bridge

29.02.12. Hereford St, W view, Central Police, quake damaged high rise. Central Police was imploded 31.05.15

Cnr Hereford St / Oxford Tce, I looked at an orange, Hi Vis vested workman abseiling down the new Council bldg, opp Central Police. Four cop cars were parked & several cops hovered on Cambridge Tce near Gloucester St, as the Australian Governor General was visiting Christchurch.

4 images, Cambridge Tce:

29.02.12. Cambridge Tce view, abseiler, quake damaged, new Council bldg

29.02.12. Weedy, Worcester St Bridge view, red zone, Clarendon Tower right, demolition in progress

The Town Crier in his red coat & black, tricorn hat hovered too, chatting to tourists on weedy, Worcester St Bridge. A sign on the bridge, red zone, cordon fence read:


Despite being pre quakes anachronisms, Christchurch Town Crier & The Wizard were useless post quakes, as their CBD ranting grounds were red zone, cordoned by CERA & NZDF soldiers. The Wizard had vanished to his Timaru house & vowed never to return to Christchurch. (False: Months later, The Wizard was ranting again in Christchurch, paid by Council of course).

8 images, Gloucester St, Durham St Nth:

29.02.12. Cambridge Tce view, Avon River, red zone, Gloucester St Bridge & Oxford Tce

The Town Crier also chatted to a cop directing traffic past the red zone, NZDF checkpoint at Cambridge Tce / Gloucester St / Durham St Nth crossing. A checkpoint, red zone, fence sign read:


29.02.12. NZDF checkpoint, red zone, Cambridge Tce / Gloucester St / Durham St Nth crossing. Old Central Library & Farmers left, Brannigans demolition right. Farmers & Central Library were later demolished

29.02.12. Town Crier & cop directing traffic, red zone, Cambridge Tce / Gloucester St / Durham St Nth crossing. Quake trashed, tarped, Provincial Council behind

29.02.12. Gloucester St view, red zone, Amuri Courts demolition in progress, Durham St Nth, opp quake trashed Provincial Council.

As Brannigans was being demolished on Oxford Tce in the red zone & Amuri Courts, cordoned demolition progressed in Durham St Nth, opp quake trashed, Provincial Council bldg, I detoured away from the red zone along Gloucester St & Montreal St to Cranmer Sq.

29.02.12. Demolition in progress, high rise behind Art Gallery, Gloucester St

4 images, Cranmer Sq:

29.02.12. Cranmer Sq view, red zone PWC & Forsyth Barr high rises, Armagh St. PWC left was demolished. Forsyth Barr's owner & insurer dithered for years, then Forsyth Barr morphed into Crowne Plaza Hotel

29.02.12. Cranmer Sq view, red zone, Crowne Plaza Hotel, demolition in progress

29.02.12. Yellow digger & suit. Cranmer Sq view, Chateau Blanc Suites, part demolition almost complete, cnr Kilmore St / Montreal St. Chateau Blanc Suites was revamped as Hotel Montreal

29.02.12. Cranmer Sq view, serial quake damaged, boarded, Cranmer Court, cnr Kilmore St / Montreal St. Cranmer Court was demolished, Oct-Nov 2012 after heritage protests

Down Kilmore St, I wandered past quake trashed Cranmer Court, which would be demolished in Oct - Nov 2012, after heritage protests. I cut back to the red zone, cordon fence & looked at Crowne Plaza Hotel, a demolition in progress. A hand-written sign on the cordon fence read:

Victoria St

10 images, Kilmore St:

29.02.12. Red zone, Crowne Plaza Hotel, demolition in progress, cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth

29.02.12. Durham St Nth, S view to Cranmer Sq. Red zone demolitions, Crowne Plaza Hotel left, Copthorne Hotel right, demolitions in progress

29.02.12. Red zone, Copthorne Hotel, demolition almost complete, cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth

29.02.12. Kilmore St red zone view, NW up Victoria St. Casino right

Cnr Durham St Nth / Peterborough St, opp Christchurch Casino, I snapped Guardian Trust bldg, when an officious, little man with thinning, grey hair & crumpled sports jacket pulled up in his car in the car park & objected to me snapping "his" bldg.

29.02.12. Red zone, Kilmore St, northwards view up Durham St Nth. Casino left, Guardian Trust right

18 images, Peterborough St:

29.02.12. Serial quake damaged, Guardian Trust, cnr Peterborough St / Durham St Nth. Copthorne Hotel demolition right

Guardian Trust bldg wasn't fence cordoned & one side was next to the pavement, so it was impossible not to see quake trashed offices through weedy, ground floor windows. One closed office had a 1 metre excavation through the concrete floor down to foundations. What was the obnoxious little man hiding?

I told him it wasn't illegal to photograph bldgs & where was his sign saying it was private property? Irony was lost on him when he waved to a "Video Surveillance" sign on his neighbour's fence. Bullshit, as Guardian Trust power was switched off.

More irony when I left his car park: "I see your closed bldg has the right name, Guardian Trust. Not shaping too well?" He scuttled off to the Maori Land Court next door. (Nov 2013, Guardian Trust was still abandoned).

Continuing along Peterborough St back to my car, I snapped quake trashed houses & more demolition sites both sides of the CBD red zone, cordon fence. Along the way, red zone, cordon fence signs read:


29.02.12. Post quakes Central Library, Peterborough St, where wife & I were shaken, first 8 minutes, 4 quakes, during the 23.12.11 quake swarm.

Considering CERA's slow demolitions in the CBD red zone, it would be months before Christchurch CBD opened again. Quake damaged high rises still stood in the CBD red zone, like Westpac, Holiday Inn, Clarendon Tower, PWC, Forsyth Barr & demolitions had hardly begun on them yet.

29.02.12. Peterborough St S view, red zone, Colombo St. Abandoned Forsyth Barr middle; abandoned, serial quake trashed, Christchurch Cathedral beyond; abandoned Town Hall right. Copthorne Hotel, middle left, was demolished

Whether a new CBD rose again was moot, as some businesses had re-established in the suburbs, like at Addington & Riccarton. Never mind 10 000 quakes, demolitions could've gone much faster. The CERA / NZDF occupied red zone cordon had strangled life out of the CBD. Behind CERA's garotte fencing, bldgs in the CBD red zone were abandoned & rotting.

29.02.12. Red zone, demolition site, cnr Peterborough St / Colombo St. Quake smashed, high rise windows behind

Properties near the CBD red zone were doomed too, as their value & customers were radically reduced. Who wanted to do business, or live near a drab, dead zone with dangerous bldgs nearby & asbestos dust, copper, chromium & arsenic dust & brick & cement dust flying from demolitions?

Resulting from all the demolition dust I was exposed to on my wanderings, I developed an allergy akin to hay fever, where my eyes cried copious tears, I sneezed regularly & my nasal cavities closed whenever the weather dried. I breathed through my mouth then. I could only breathe through my nose when weather dampened again & nasal congestion decreased. Although I had spring hay fever for years, I'd never had that new, allergic reaction to dust until Christchurch post quakes, demolitions era. Never mind all the bacterial spores from sewage floating around.

Pre-quakes, Jake had done a tertiary, graphic design course at Natcoll House campus between Peterborough St & Kilmore St, so we knew the area. Natcoll was demolished.

29.02.12. Peterborough St view, red zone, abandoned, CBD high rises. Medlab left, PWC middle, Forsyth Barr right. Medlab & PWC were soon demolished. Forsyth Barr lingered, awaiting resurrection as Crowne Plaza Hotel

29.02.12. Peterborough St view, red zone, abandoned Natcoll House & PWC. Natcoll & PWC were demolished

29.02.12. Red zone, demolition junk between abandoned bldgs, Peterborough St

In the suburbs, especially along Avon River banks, 1 000s of quake trashed houses were abandoned, yet little new housing was being built. House owners were annoyed, as little affordable land was available for rebuilding, so people were leaving Christchurch. Never mind CERA's broken promise that orange & white zoners would hear about their land zoning by the end of February.

29.02.12. Serial quake trashed house & house demolition site, Peterborough St

Thurs 01.03.12. Mag 4.3 quake, 8.02 am, depth 15 km, 20 km W of Christchurch (GeoNet). I didn't feel it in Burnside. Luke did.

*Wandered Manchester St, Madras St, Latimer Sq, St Asaph St, Colombo St, Cashel Mall, Oxford Tce, Hereford St, Cambridge Tce, Gloucester St, Durham St Nth, Cranmer Sq, Kilmore St, Peterborough St.

Silly season: The Speaker excluded MP Winston Peters from parliament for calling CERA minister Brownlee "an illiterate woodwork teacher." (Old Boy of St Bedes College, Brownlee had taught woodwork there until more lucrative MP work lured him in 1996).

Fri 02.03.12. Anglican bishop, Victoria Matthews announced that Christchurch Cathedral would be demolished. (One News). Church authorities had dithered for months about the serial, quake trashed death trap.

TV Close up: Councillor Aaron Keown, sporting a SAVE THE CATHEDRAL sign, debated with Matthews, why the deconsecrated, death trap cathedral should be saved. Keown threatened to chain himself to the ruined cathedral, over his dead body. (Never mind aftershocks). Keown had also voted for town clerk Marryatt's salary increase. Keown never carried out his threat. (In the 2013 Council elections Keown lost his Council seat & Marryatt later "retired." Keown became a councillor again at a later election).

While Keown showed off, Christchurch infrastructure & Council properties needed fixing.

Sat 03.03.12 (The Press). Mayor Parker suggested bishop Matthews "put the quake damaged Christ Church Cathedral into public ownership so it can be restored." Matthews declined that stupidity.

As Christchurch Cathedral & land was owned by the Anglican diocese, Parker was mad if he expected ratepayers to pay for Christchurch Cathedral restoration. Bishop Matthews' Cathedral demolition announcement was wishful thinking, as heritage fanatics' protests & court cases would delay Christchurch Cathedral rebuild or restoration for years.

Meanwhile property owners round Cathedral Sq wanted to put an artificial beach with tons of beach sand in Cathedral Sq. Matthews approved that mad idea. As 510 000 tons of silt had already been removed from Christchurch by CERA, those property owners were stark raving bonkers. Christchurch had real beaches nearby. (See CERA Update below).

After those silly diversions, Brownlee quietly announced a March-end deadline for orange zoners to know the fate of their land. Brownlee had formerly said February-end was the deadline. Also that the red zone CBD would not open in April as planned, due to slow demolition progress. That was just Brownlee bullshit, as the CBD would only open again in more than a year's time.

Over the next couple of years Brownlee would wriggle out of CERA deadline announcements, apologizing for CERA delays & blaming others for CERA delays. Council would become the butt of Brownlee's blamings, as councillors & mayor Parker were too weak to fight back.

Over the next year, CERA would expect citizens to heed CERA zoning deadlines & Crown offer deadlines, yet CERA rarely stuck to its own deadlines, repeatedly extending them. CERA bullied by threatening to cut off infrastructure & services for red zoners & compulsory land acquisition if red zoners didn't comply.

Counter to the above, Brownlee's & CERA boss Sutton's Earthquake Recovery Update, Issue 7 / February 2012, read:

"26 significant new commercial buildings within the CBD 4 avenues have had foundations laid. [Weasel words, as CERA didn't specify within, or without CERA's NZDF occupied, red zone cordon].

1 023 earthquake damaged buildings within the four avenues now demolished. [1 500 scheduled, last count]...

5 957 consent forms returned out of 6 805 residential red-zoned properties. [More to come as orange zoning & white zoning wasn't complete].

206 major infrastructure projects underway in greater Christchurch at a cost of $422 million...

510 000 tonnes of silt removed, mainly from liquefaction...

27 km of water mains replaced.

4 km of large city sewer gravity pipes replaced...

13 500 attend CERA-sponsored picnics, outdoor movies and other events in local parks."

CERA spun meaningless statistics, but didn't say how CERA's & Council's functions differed & what were joint projects, if any.

CERA didn't say why it wasn't releasing Tonkin & Taylor land reports, so citizens could ascertain why / how their private land was zoned?

CERA didn't say why CERA was punting red zone residential pay outs, with leave home deadlines for red zoners?

It was galling for some red zoners, forced from their homes by NZ National govt / CERA, as their homes had no quake damages whatsoever. Red zone Brooklands suburb pertained. 

CERA / NZ National govt would grab red zoners' private insurances, after bullying red zoners to accept CERA's Crown offer. Thus CERA got homes & land cheaply, at 2007 rateable value, rather than market value, leaving displaced people, either caught with reduced equity on a National govt caused, inflated housing market, or leaving Christchurch to look for cheaper dwellings. Disaster Capitalism at its worst.

I doubted people with CERA pay outs would be able to buy new houses / similar replacement houses in Christchurch in the current inflated market. CERA, insurers & EQC had lots to answer for. What was the point of home owners paying premiums to EQC & insurers for so many years?

While land-grabbing CERA started demolishing red zone houses, rental landlords rubbed their greedy hands in glee. CERA reduced housing & commercial bldg stocks by demolitions, but did little to produce affordable housing for displaced people. A housing crisis loomed for quake / CERA displaced citizens.

Weeks later media discovered the housing crisis, with greedy landlords expecting tenants to bid for rentals. Brownlee said the housing market should not be interfered with, but said some more temporary housing was being built in Christchurch. Brownlee was a bit late, as inadequate Kaiapoi & Linwood temporary villages were completed months ago & there was just not enough housing for displaced people to rent. Never mind builders & contractors swarming into Christchurch to swill at the trough of CERA's largesse.

Meanwhile people forced from their red zone homes had few options: Expensive rentals while waiting for EQC & / or insurance pay outs, or Fletcher repairs. And competing with hordes of contractors expected to find their own accommodation during rebuild. NZ National govt had had more than a year to sort out the housing mess. Expecting the housing market to be kind was risible.

See The Press editorial: Shelter in a storm.

A year post 22.02.11 quake, CERA emphasized CBD demolitions & kick-starting CBD rebuild, with the Council plan to rebuild on quake-ravaged, water-logged land, with masses of underground water & Heathcote River / Avon River connected underground streams, aquifers & springs - liquefaction sources.

Never mind the CBD Fault running W-E under Christchurch CBD, causing the Boxing Bay quake, 26.12.10. I guessed the CBD Fault was connected to Pegasus Bay Fault lines, as Leah & I had a helluva shaking in Peterborough St, Central Library, 8 minutes start of the 23.12.11 quake swarm, 4 serial quakes, before we left. And that was before the 6.0 mag quake, caused by the Pegasus Bay Fault.

Sat 03.03.12. Mag 4.0 quake, 3.47 pm, 11 km depth, 20 km E of Christchurch (GeoNet). Didn't feel it, driving my car near the red zone CBD.

Wed 28.03.12. Example of authoritarian buck-passing prevalent in post quake Christchurch: After evidence of squatting in red zone, Natcoll House was found, cop Derek Erasmus, Central area commander inspector said: "Property owners have responsibility for their buildings in the red zone... They need to make sure their buildings are secure, and if they are quake damaged, then it is their responsibility to plywood or secure the building so people can't get into it." (The Press 28.03.12).

That took the prize for crazy, quake statement of the year, especially after USAR / TF destroyed doors & locks to check locked properties post quake. What was the point of the red zone cordon Erasmus? If you checked Natcoll House from Peterborough St, you'd see it WAS ply-boarded.

Snag was that cops & NZDF soldiers were responsible for occupying red zone, Christchurch CBD, with an apartheid cordon for more than a year, so far, around the quake abandoned CBD, with varying NZDF checkpoints. By means of passes, CERA obstructed bldg owners accessing their red zone buildings. Any halfwit squatter or tagger could climb over, or squeeze through cordon fencing on Peterborough St & elsewhere. And Erasmus blamed the victims of CERA's strangling cordon - the bldg owners.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Time to fast-track rebuild (The Press / Stuff Co).

See 7000 owners part of safety stocktake (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Brownlee overruled green zone go ahead (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christ Church Cathedral condemned (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Demolition about to start in northern areas (The Press / Stuff Co).

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