Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quake Savvy After 10 000 Quakes, 2010-2012

2010-2012. After 10 000 quakes, like other Canterbury citizens my family & I were quake savvy. During 17 quake months, our lives were threatened by several dangerous quakes. We could guesstimate quake magnitudes & knew which quakes could be safely ignored & which quakes were life threatening. We knew what to do in dangerous quakes. We were quake hardened.

We'd also endured quake savvy parasites, those attracted to quake disaster for mercenary reasons: contractors; sewage & water pipe layers & cleaners; linesmen; telecom technicians; architects; engineers; designers; demolishers; sleazy developers; builders; bureaucrats like Council, CERA, EQC; insurers; geotech engineers & structural engineers, including their tardy reports.

We endured do-gooders: USAR / TF teams from around the globe; local RT teams; social worker leeches; Aussie cops; good for nothing, tourist cops from elsewhere in NZ; NZDF soldiers; media; psychologists; academic researchers; councillors; heritage fanatics; photo op celebrities, like movie stars, Prince William, priests & politicians: "Where's the nearest TV camera?"

The worst: Know-alls who'd never experienced a quake, but were quake savvy in the safety of their internet connections. I'd experienced several Know-alls on Facebook.

Sat 11.02.12. Evening TV news: Part of Merivale Mall, Papanui Rd, was closed due to a dangerous, quake prone bldg (weak design) 20 shops closed. Mall owners only became quake savvy after 1 000s of citizens had used the mall for months during quakes & tardy engineers had made a negative safety report, after post quake revision of the bldg code.

Although nearby bldgs were quake trashed & demolished, with shipping container "shop windows" on a next door demolition site & a rebuild in progress across Papanui Rd, it took Merivale Mall owners 17 months to wake up to safety issues. Why did Merivale Mall owners, Council, CERA & engineer inspectors take so long sorting out citizens' safety in Merivale Mall?

Like recent closure of Northlands Mall car park, Langdons Rd, after public had used the car park for months during quakes, myself included; public library closures at Bishopdale & Fendalton, after public had used the libraries for months during quakes, myself included; tardy Merivale Mall closure didn't say much for engineers' safety checks immediately after quakes. Was Council & CERA just covering ass, scared of legal actions by citizens injured in more quakes?

Never mind Leah & I being caught in the "new" Peterborough St library, during 4 life threatening quakes on 23.12.11, first 8 minutes of the Xmas quake swarm.

My family & I'd used Merivale Mall & nearby McDonald's & other shops for months during quakes. We knew how to save ourselves during dangerous quakes, but we couldn't save ourselves from greed & stupidity of non savvy mall owners & non savvy engineers.

Given engineers' slackness & buck passing at the Royal Commission of Inquiry, I didn't trust engineers & their inspection reports. They had much to answer for, including many quake deaths in the 22.02.11 quake.

Images, quake damaged Park Tce:

15.02.12. Quake damaged apartments, cnr Park Tce / Devon St, former CBD red zone. The apartments were demolished

Valentines Day, 14.02.12. CERA's demolitions boss, Warwick Isaacs smirked on TV, commenting on the belated demolition of modern Terrace on the Park flats, as tardy engineers had belatedly found it was in danger of collapse. Abandoned Terrace on the Park had rotted for months behind a fence cordon during quakes.

Isaacs boasted about the spring and summer of demolitions, while wearing an orange, Hi Vis jacket with CERA label. Isaacs needed to complete red zone, CBD demolitions pronto, as public had already been banned from the CBD for a year. Isaacs also needed to get on with 1 000s of red zone, residential demolitions in the suburbs.

15.02.12. Quake damaged house, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

I'd often driven past fence cordoned, Terrace on the Park during quakes months & had parked my car on Salisbury St across the road from Terrace on the Park, several times during quake months. Pity non savvy inspection engineers, Council & CERA hadn't hung their EXTREME DANGER signs on those cordon fences.

15.02.12. Terrace on the Park, quake trashed apartments, cnr Park Tce / Salisbury St, former CBD red zone

One afternoon post 23.12.11 quake swarm, I'd directed a tourist, looking for a food shop, to the Victoria St greengrocer, past Terrace on the Park. There were few food shops in that quake ravaged CBD area.

15.02.12. Observers, Terrace on the Park demolition, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

15.02.12. Demolition, Terrace on the Park bldg, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

Another afternoon post Xmas quake swarm, Leah & I'd stood by the cordon fence & looked into Terrace on the Park ground floor flats. It annoyed me that non savvy engineers, Council & CERA suddenly found those bldgs were dangerous, more than 6 weeks post Xmas quake swarm!

15.02.12. Demolition, Terrace on the Park bldg, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

15.02.12. I joined observers gathered on Park Tce by Avon River bank, watching Terrace on the Park demolition. I snapped a digger smashing flats, a workman hosing dust. Just another post quake demolition. We'd seen many demolitions.

15.02.12. Demolition, Terrace on the Park bldg, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

Media hype about the demolition was CERA's diversion from tardy land zoning by Tonkin & Taylor geotech engineers. TC3 green zone, red zone & orange zone citizens still lived in Third World, quake squalor, while demolition boss Isaacs posed before TV cameras.

15.02.12. Demolition, Terrace on the Park bldg, former CBD rd zone

15.02.12. Observers, Terrace on the Park demolition, Park Tce, former CBD red zone

I returned to my car on Carlton Mill Rd, then snapped 5 quake damaged houses on nearby Tonbridge St. The houses had familiar quake damages & part repairs: collapsed bricks walls; concrete brick rubble on pavements; wood propped walls; boarded walls & tarped roofs; gaping "dolls house" rooms, exposed to weather; cordon fencing.

Images, quake damaged Tonbridge St:

15.02.12. Quake damaged house, Tonbridge St, Christchurch

I drove up Papanui Rd & snapped new shipping container shops on a house demolition site, Merivale Ln.

Images, quake damaged cnr Papanui Rd / Merivale Ln:

15.02.12. Post quake, shipping container cafe on house demolition site, cnr Merivale Ln / Papanui Rd

While customers sipped latte & nibbled muffins at the shipping container cafe, demolishers flattened nearby St Mary's Church.

I wandered up Papanui Rd & snapped St Mary's demolition site: The quake damaged church hall still stood, but the church was a pile of stones. A wooden roof stood on the ground. A man in yellow hard hat & orange, Hi Vis vest tinkered with the exposed church organ, covered in an orange tarp. Quake savvy parishioners wanted the organ saved. A sign on a cordon fence read:

Change of Worship Venue

St Mary's Services
8am at 35 Church Lane
10am at 467 Wairakei Rd

Parish phone:...

Watch this space for

After quake damages & post quake demolitions, many Christchurch churches shared venues with other churches, or relocated services.

Images, quake damaged Church Ln:

15.02.12. Post quake, St Mary's Church Hall, cnr Papanui Rd / Church Ln

15.02.12. Post quake, demolition of St Mary's, Church Ln

15.02.12. Post quake, St Mary's demolition site & church organ, Church Ln

I wandered up Papanui Rd to Rugby St, where Jake had flatted some pre quake months. The wooden flat had survived the quakes, but the nearby Chinese Methodist Church, hall demolished, was rotting by the decapitated church spire, in the overgrown churchyard. The quake trashed, brick church had stood abandoned for months behind cordon fencing. The church was demolished in 2013 & rebuilt in 2014.

Images, quake damaged Rugby St & Papanui Rd:

15.02.12. Quake survivor, wooden rental flat, Rugby St, Christchurch

15.02.12. Quake damaged, double storey, wooden house, Rugby St, Christchurch

15.02.12. Serial quake trashed Chinese Methodist Church, cnr Rugby St / Papanui Rd, Church hall demolition site left. The church was demolished in 2013 & rebuilt in 2014

I wandered into Merivale Mall. By a cordon fence between shops in the mall, a young security man stopped me snapping pics. I said: "You're the first person telling me in 17 months of quakes I can't snap buildings. You & your bosses are wrong. It's not illegal snapping buildings." I wandered what Merivale Mall owners were hiding, by cheapskate employing a young security man to bullshit public?

Like at other malls, I thought the entrance, electrically operated, glass, sliding doors were death traps, as the first thing that went in a big quake was power supply.

15.02.12. Post quake, shops rebuild, on shops demolition site, Papanui Rd, opp Merivale Mall

15.02.12. Post quake, shipping container "shop windows" on shops demolition site, Papanui Rd, next to serial quake damaged, Merivale Mall

15.02.12. Papanui Rd entrance to serial quake damaged, Merivale Mall

I strolled out & entered Merivale Mall again at Aikmans Rd side & back entrances. Little trade went on in opened shops. Few shoppers were in the mall, besides 3 Hi Vis vested workmen in hard hats behind fencing, blocking off the central mall area by the supermarket & below skylight windows. There were no security men, so I took pics.

15.02.12. Quake closure sign on side entrance to serial quake damaged, Merivale Mall, Aikmans Rd

A Merivale Mall door sign read:

While areas of Merivale Mall are currently closed the remaining stores are open and trading in a limited capacity.

Fresh Choice is currently closed until further notice.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Merivale Management.

15.02.12. Serial quake damaged, Merivale Mall, part closed, after trading for months during the 2010-2012 quakes, Papanui Rd

A sign on the mall glass door read:


I remembered the precious cop on Colombo St, 08.09.10, 4 days post 7.1 mag quake & into the first state of emergency, ordering me: "You can only photograph buildings!" How the wheel had turned.

Besides Isaacs's demolition lyricism, CERA's boss, Sutton also lost the plot, after organizing bus tours in Isaacs's red zone CBD, Sutton then organized movies & BBQs for the public in parks during Xmas holidays, then cajoled the public to use sunscreen lotion during holidays.

Fri 17.02.12. TV announced that a 5 shops bldg, corner Rotheram St / Riccarton Rd was closed, due to quake damage. The old, masonry bldg was damaged in the 04.09.10 quake. Soon afterwards, while a cop directed a shop owner's evacuation, I'd snapped collapsed awning rubbish & fallen parapet masonry, which had collapsed onto the pavement.

Why did Civil Defence (quick to demolish old bldgs on the opposite side of Riccarton Rd) then CERA allow the shops to continue trading post Feb 22 quake? Why did engineers & CERA take 17 months post quakes to re-close the shops?

Any observer could see the unreinforced masonry bldg was stuffed post 04.09.10 quake.

Jake had worked at the Fox & Ferret gastro-pub down Rotherham St, so we knew the area well. Post quakes, our family no longer shopped at nearby Riccarton Mall. It was too crowded & creepy. Post quakes we were wary of crowded bldgs, especially malls.

While the above ghastly farragoes unfolded, town clerk Marryatt took a half day off playing golf & mayor Parker was in China schmoozing Chinese businesses to invest in quake rotten Christchurch, while Christchurch businesses fled the CBD.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Five Riccarton businesses closed (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Property owners leaving town (The Press / Stuff Co).

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