Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quake Flower Power, Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Sat 25.02.12. After last weekend's flower jaunt, Leah & I had another look at Flower Power in Christchurch Botanic Gdns. The annual Festival of Flowers was humming & the Ellerslie Flower Show was imminent. Pre-quakes, Council had wasted millions of dollars buying the Ellerslie Flower Show name from Auckland council.

Images, quake damaged, Christchurch Botanic Gdns:


25.02.12. Ford Coupe, 1938, Christchurch Botanic Gdns car park

In Botanic Gdns car park by Avon River, I was pleased to see a brown, 1938 Ford Coupe, 2 seater, with dickie seat. My mom drove the same 1938 Ford Coupe in Durban, SA, where I grew up in the 1950s. The Kiwi Coupe was the same brown colour, with the same running boards. I had fond memories of travelling all over Durban, as a boy seated on the dickie seat. I still heard the thud-thud-thud heartbeat of the potent V8 engine.



Botanic Gdns: Leah liked the AQUATIC TOPIARY DISPLAY, with flowery penguins, a whale & a seagull by the restaurant pond.


25.02.12. Christchurch Festival of Flowers, Botanic Gdns








We looked at a series of EDIFICE BUILDING POP-UP FLORAL ART arrangements, potted in Wendy Huts below Botanic Gdns trees. The huts stopped viewers' tampering in the day & locked up the flowers at night. Christchurch quakes inspired several flower arrangements. The floral displays made a colourful contrast to the drabness of post quake Christchurch.


25.02.12. Christchurch Festival of Flowers, Botanic Gdns





From Botanic Gdns / Christ's College side gate, by the rugby field, I snapped the Prefects Room below a quake cracked, brick wall. The Prefects Room was cordoned by a flimsy fence. I hoped the Prefects Room was permanently locked, as the unreinforced brick wall above looked ready to collapse in the next big quake. So many people were killed or injured in the Feb 22 quake by that sort of negligence - bricks falling into rooms & on people.


25.02.12. Christ's College Prefects Room & quake cracked, brick wall, Botanic Gdns view



25.02.12. Christ's College, side gate view of Christchurch Botanic Gdns

By the Botanic Gdns / Museum gate stood a Greening the Rubble Pallet Planters display, with small plants in a pallet. Cute idea for tourists' edification, but the idea had yet to take off. There were many demolition sites to green, as CERA wanted to demolish 1 500 bldgs in the CBD alone. Why clutter demolition sites with more junk, like old pallets? For months, plant succession was already happening, pioneer weeds like ragwort growing up to 2 m high in abandoned properties.

Nov 2013. Greening the Rubble was still active, but there wasn't much greening going on, as many CBD demolition sites were just stony & weedy. CERA, Council & property owners needed to green their rubble instead.


25.02.12. Greening the Rubble, Festival of Flowers, Christchurch Botanic Gdns


By Canterbury Museum door, at a pavement kiosk, two signs read:

GUIDED WALKS

   DISCOVER
        OUR
UNIQUE CITY

WALKS COST
    $NZ 15.00
PER PERSON

Tourist Rip off.

Images, quake damaged Rolleston Ave:


25.02.12. Post quake Guided Walks kiosk, Rolleston Ave

Rolleston Ave: The Great Hall of the Arts Centre was scaffolded, with few repairs done, awaiting insurance pay out. We wandered along Rolleston Ave, on the pavement opposite Christ's College, by the school hostels, thereby avoiding the school's high stone bldgs, to Armagh St, back to our car.


25.02.12. Post quake scaffolding, Great Hall, Arts Centre, Rolleston Ave

During quake years, we'd become artful dodgers, checking dangerous bldgs & crossing the road to a safer pavement, away from teetering bldgs. It had become our safe walking habit. If there were tall bldgs both sides of a street, we walked fast.


25.02.12. Post quake, Christchurch CBD map, Rolleston Ave

By Armagh St entrance to Botanic Gdns car park, a new CBD map was erected for tourists, showing the forbidden red zone. Citizens were banned by Civil Defence, then CERA from the CBD for more than a year since the Feb 22 quake, while CERA fiddled with demolitions. NZDF soldiers would control CBD cordon checkpoints for 28 months post 22.02.11 quake.

CERA occupied private & Council land & banned owners & citizens from the CBD, with NZDF checkpoints, as if CERA owned the CBD. Nowhere else in the world was there such an occupation. Only in Christchurch.


More than a year post 22.02.11 quake, it was disgusting that Council encouraged tourists & erected snazzy maps, implying the CBD, banned to citizens, was a ghoulish tourist attraction, while Christchurch green & red zoners languished in squalid living conditions & orange & white zoners still awaited CERA's slow land decisions on their properties.


CERA minister Brownlee's excuses & expedient apologies for tardy Tonkin & Taylor's land reports were wearing thin.

11.27 pm, mag 4.3 quake, depth 11 km, 20 km NE of Christchurch (Geonet). Disturbed our TV viewing. Pegasus Bay Fault again.

Tue 28.02.12. Engineers were a sorry lot in the Royal Commission of Inquiry. Latest: An engineer took full responsibility for a design flaw he approved, for a concrete spandrel which killed a woman, when the concrete panel fell off Ballantynes in the Feb 22 quake.

The engineer apologized for his mistake, than spoilt it by blaming Council engineers for not picking up the design mistake. Pity the engineer only apologized & took responsibility when hauled before the Royal Commission a year post quake. I doubt he would've apologized had he not been named & shamed by the Royal Commission.

A bldg owner whose Manchester St bldg killed a man in the Feb 22 quake said although his bldg was quake strengthened, he didn't know his bldg had killed someone until recently. He apologized expediently.

That was the disgusting blame-shifting at the Royal Commission: Only accept responsibility for rotten bldgs under examination by Commission lawyers & maybe apologize if caught out. (The Press 28-29.02.12).

There would be more buck-passing & blame-shifting at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the PGC bldg & CTV bldg collapses & at the Coroner's Inquest into CTV deaths.

TV One News reported that since the 04.09.10 quake, 18 months ago, there were 13 000 quake related injuries. That would've included Luke's broken collar bone, after skateboarding over pavement buckling, post 04.09.10 quake.

Meanwhile mayor Parker clowned around Wellington, telling people he was scared of Wellington bldgs & told Wellingtonians to bang desks for 45 seconds to emulate a quake.

Parker had scarcely showed his face in Christchurch since the Feb 1 protest & his China junket paid by ratepayers. Only appearance he'd made was for photo opportunities on Feb 22 quake anniversary day. Parker needed to sort out his working relationship with CERA & sort out quake trashed, eastern suburb housing & quake trashed roads. (The Press 29.02.12).

Content & pics, Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See We'll close more buildings say quake engineers (The Press / Stuff Co).


See Business owners likely to run out of cover (The Press / Stuff Co).


See Engineer accepts responsibility (The Press / Stuff Co).


See Red zoners stressed to breaking point (The Press / Stuff Co).

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