Friday, March 16, 2012

CERA's Red Zone, CBD Demolitions & Alice In Videoland Reopening

Sat 17.03.12. In its CERA Earthquake Recovery Update, Issue 7, Feb 2012, CERA boasted about reopening CBD, red zone, Alice in Videoland in the old Post Office bldg, High St. Bouquet for Alice in Videoland owners for opening the video shop in the quake / CERA devastated red zone.

Paradox: CERA used taxpayers' money to demolish red zone bldgs, while Alice in Videoland made money from taxpayers & paid taxes for CERA to continue demolitions.

After the 1931 Napier quake, PO architect, John Thomas Mair, built the concrete PO in 1932, so JT knew a thing or two about strong foundations & concrete reinforcement in a quake zone. Pity the rest of the bldgs around the old PO were so weak, as Alice in Videoland was surrounded by quake demolition sites.

Images, quake damaged St Asaph St:


17.03.12. St Asaph St view: McKenzie Willis demolition site view to Tuam St & red zone CBD



17.03.12. St Asaph St, McKenzie Willis, demolition site view of Alice in Videoland middle, Tuam St, red zone, CBD


17.03.12. St Asaph St demolition site view: Serial quake trashed High St properties


Brickbat for CERA for issuing so many section 38's, demolition orders to owners of surrounding red zone bldgs in St Asaph St, Tuam St, High St & Manchester St. Could bldgs not have been saved?


17.03.12. St Asaph St view: McKenzie Willis demolition site view to Tuam St & red zone CBD


17.03.12. St Asaph St, McKenzie Willis, demolition site view: Alice in Videoland left, Tuam St, red zone CBD. Abandoned, old Majestic Theatre beyond, Lichfield St, awaiting demolition


I parked my car on St Asaph St by the McKenzie Willis demolition site, where I looked through red zone, cordon fencing, past more demolition sites & across Tuam St to Alice in Videoland. The St Asaph St demolition site was an eyesore with 22.02.11, mag 6.3 quake broken bldgs, teetering testaments to death trap owners' & insurers' hesitations & CERA's slow demolitions.


A relocation sign on a tree behind a cordon fence read:

       Now opening at...
       181 Blenheim
       Road

Come and visit us at our
new premises for all your
home furnishing needs.

Another cordon fence sign read:

EXTREME
 DANGER
   KEEP
   OUT

17.03.12. St Asaph St alley view: Red zone CBD, Westpac left & Holiday Inn middle awaiting demolition. Hotel Grand Chancellor middle, a demolition in progress. Alice in Videoland, Tuam St right


17.03.12. St Asaph St alley view: McKenzie Willis demolition site, red zone, CBD


CERA still had many demolitions to do before the CBD red zone was opened properly. Apart from Riverlands House, Copthorne Hotel, DTZ, Securities House & Brannigans high rise demolitions & tinkering with Hotel Grand Chancellor & Crowne Plaza Hotel demolitions for months, so far, many quake-messed high rises still had to be demolished in Christchurch red zone CBD.


17.03.12. St Asaph St alley view: McKenzie Willis demolition site view of serial quake trashed properties, High St






Images, quake damaged Manchester St:

17.03.12. Manchester St view of Alice in Videoland, Tuam St left & red zone, demolition sites


More than a year post 22.02.11 quake, tall high rises had hardly been touched by CERA demolishers: BNZ, Grant Thornton, Clarendon Tower, PWC... still to be demolished. CERA was disingenuous taking credit for opening a corner of the CBD red zone by Manchester St & Tuam St, letting Alice in Videoland trade again, with so many high rise demolitions still to go.


17.03.12. Serial quake survivors: the drawing room left, Odeon Theatre middle, Manchester St. Odeon Theatre was part demolished, Tuam St facade saved


17.03.12. Serial quake survivor, Odeon Theatre, Manchester St. Odeon Theatre was part demolished, Tuam St facade saved


17.03.12. Cnr St Asaph St / Manchester St, demolition site view: red zone CBD, Odeon Theatre left, Real Groovy middle, Westpac right. Westpac was demolished, Odeon Theatre was part demolished, Tuam St facade saved



17.03.12. Cnr St Asaph St / Manchester St demolition site view of red zone high rises: Westpac left, Holiday Inn middle, Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition right. The 3 high rises were demolished


17.03.12. NZDF checkpoint view of St Asaph St / Manchester St crossing & S view along Manchester St to Port Hills. Post 22.02.11 quake, the checkpoint was at the crossing for more than a year, then moved N to High St crossing

Images, quake damaged Tuam St:


17.03.12. Manchester St / Tuam St crossing, W view along red zone Tuam St. Real Groovy left, old Council bldg middle right. Odeon Theatre facade, middle left, was saved after the rest of the theatre was demolished. Real Groovy & old Council bldg were demolished. The old Council bldg site became the new Bus Exchange site



17.03.12. Manchester St / Tuam St crossing view of red zone CBD. Westpac awaited demolition behind


17.03.12. Manchester St / Tuam St crossing view of red zone CBD. Westpac left, Holiday Inn right awaited demolition


17.03.12. Manchester St / Tuam St crossing N view: New NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St / High St crossing, red zone, CBD


17.03.12. Stacked shipping containers, bracing a serial quake trashed facade, between Manchester St / Tuam St crossing & a new NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St / High St crossing



At the new NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St / Tuam St / High St crossings, an orange & black sign read:

                    ACCESS POINT
             HOURS OF OPERATION
               6AM TO 7PM DAILY
            OUTSIDE THIS TIME USE
 MANCHESTER ST / CAMBRIDGE TCE
                    ACCESS POINT

Why wasn't CERA demolishing 24/7, hastening recovery?

All CERA did was move its occupying NZDF checkpoint about 100 m down Manchester St, from St Asaph St crossing, past Tuam St crossing to High St crossing, to allow Alice in Videoland trade. The old PO bldg wasn't fully opened to the public, as the red zone, cordon fence across Tuam St, started half way along the bldg. Alice in Videoland main entrance off High St was still closed. It would become C1 Cafe entrance.


17.03.12. Cnr Tuam St / Manchester St, weedy demolition site view of red zone CBD. Westpac left, Holiday Inn middle awaited demolition


17.03.12. Old & new billboards, cnr Tuam St / Manchester St demolition site & view into red zone CBD

A billboard covering an old advert on an old, brick wall read:

  Let's build our
new city together
    - kia kaha


17.03.12. Red zone CBD view, Alice in Videoland, Tuam St. Abandoned, old Majestic Theatre behind, Lichfield St, awaited demolition

It would take years for CERA to demolish remaining high rises. Even dithering, squabbling Council was more effective in demolishing Manchester Courts post 04.09.10, mag 7.1 quake. With no red zone & citizens wandering the precinct too. CERA was bogged by bureaucratic inertia, with overpaid bureaucrats & slow workers.


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland, post quake re-opening, Tuam St


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening by red zone, CBD wasteland, cnr Tuam St / High St


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland, re-opening view of quake demolition site & braced McKenzie Willis, cnr Tuam St / High St


While CERA did slow demolitions in the red zone CBD, CERA boss Sutton soliloquized in The Star 16.03.12, how the Port Hills were divided into segments for geologists & geotech engineers to decide whether bits of Port Hills were prone to quake rock fall, cliff fall or hill subsidence.


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland, re-opening view of TV 3 News SUV & Tuam St / Manchester St crossing. Odeon Theatre left was part demolished, Tuam St facade retained. Real Groovy right was demolished


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening, TV 3 News, camera man & anchor girl, Tuam St. Quake demolition sites behind, Manchester St


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening, owner talking to TV 3 News camera man, Tuam St


After 10 000 quakes, claptrap about computer modelling was no excuse for CERA's delays affecting white zoners' lives. Meanwhile Port Hills white zoners still waited for CERA to do their land rezoning by the end of June, so white zoners could get on with their limbo-lives, more than a year post 22.02.11 quake.


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening, view of quake demolition site & braced McKenzie Willis, cnr Tuam St / High St


While I snapped demolition sites around Alice in Videoland, more photographers & video shoppers saw the same. A TV 3 News team interviewed video shop owners outside & inside Alice in Videoland.


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland reopening, TV 3 News camera man & anchor girl, Tuam St


17.03.12. Re-opening Alice in Videoland view: Quake demolition site & braced McKenzie Willis, cnr Tuam St / High St



As quakes had destroyed red zone, CBD land & as CERA decided that so many old & new bldgs had to be demolished, leaving Alice in Videoland a concrete island in weedy wasteland, what was the point of CERA overseeing rebuilding on CBD, quake destroyed land?


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening, E view along red zone Tuam St


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland reopening, W view along red zone Tuam St. Real Groovy left was demolished

Images, quake damaged Manchester St:


17.03.12. Alice in Videoland re-opening, cnr Tuam St / Manchester St, demolition site view into red zone CBD


17.03.12. Manchester St / Tuam St crossing, N view of new NZDF checkpoint, Manchester St / High St crossing


17.03.12. Manchester St demolition site view: Re-opened Alice in Videoland left, quake demolition site right, cnrs Tuam St / High St


17.03.12. Post quake demolition site view of Odeon Theatre left, Real Groovy right, cnr Manchester St / Tuam St. Odeon Theatre was part demolished, Tuam St facade saved


17.03.12. Manchester St, post quake demolition site view of Odeon Theatre, awaiting demolition. Tuam St facade was saved



17.03.12. Quake tributes, red zone, Manchester St. Odeon Theatre beyond quake demolition site

Sun 18.03.12. 0.55 am, 4.3 mag quake, 10 km depth, 10 km NE of Diamond Harbour. Rumbled by, shook our pot plants, disturbed our late night TV viewing.

8.19 am, 3.8 mag quake, 11 km depth, 10 km E of Christchurch. Rattled our windows. Who needed an alarm clock? (Geonet).

Mon 19.03.12. Luke stared work at Southern Pine Products, Hornby. Over the last 2 years during quakes, he'd completed a builder course at Sullivan Ave Tech, including building a house with other students, & doing part time builder work. Luke's builder boss offered an apprenticeship, which Luke declined. He then did 2 joinery courses, to be well placed for joinery & salvage work during the post quake rebuild.

As dad's taxi during quakes & on the rat race to Hornby, where Russley Rd by the airport was upgraded to 4 lanes, I was well placed to comment on Christchurch quakes & aftermath. I did lots of driving around town during quake years.

Given the volume of 7 am, Burnside to Hornby traffic on Russley Rd past Christchurch Airport, Carmen Rd, Waterloo Rd, Main South Rd, & Halswell Junction Rd industrial area, where Luke worked, Hornby was booming. Many suburbs boomed while CERA occupied CBD declined, as CBD businesses relocated to the suburbs.

Examples: Rockshop, Manchester St, relocated to Hornby. Fudge Shop, Arts Centre, Worcester Blvd, relocated to Bishopdale. Smith's Bookshop, Manchester St, relocated to Woolston...

During Luke's pre quake, high school days I drove Luke weekly to Dickens St for drumming lessons off Lincoln Rd, Addington, a seedy area. Post quakes, Lincoln Rd area spruced up & boomed with new offices built at the bottom of Lincoln Rd, opposite Hagley Park & empty business rentals further up Lincoln were tenanted by relocated businesses, like Moroccon restaurant, Mosaic by Simo, Colombo St, which was trashed in the 04.09.10 quake.

A stark contrast to CBD demolition devastation, with fence-cordoned, abandoned bldgs & CERA military occupation - citizens banned for years. Like the military, CERA proved to be a destroyer. Could CERA change its military disaster mind set to creative, rebuild mind set? (How many retired military personnel were in CERA's echelons?)

Sat 24.03.12. 5.09 pm, 3.9 mag quake, 12 km depth, 10 km E of Christchurch (Geonet). I didn't feel it, as I was driving my car. Leah & other teachers at a London St school lecture felt it - a sharp vertical jolt, which shook the double storey bldg & slammed a door.

Wed 28.03.12. 3.04 am, mag 3.8 quake, 10 km depth, 10 km S of Christchurch. (Geonet). Woke us up, rattled our windows. Couple of smaller 3+ mag quakes earlier in the night too. Didn't feel them.

Mon 30.07.12. CERA announced, as part of CERA's Blueprint for Christchurch CBD, land between Manchester St & Madras St would become East Frame parkland. What would become of Alice in Videoland was moot, as NZ govt / CERA proposed buying & demolishing properties in the East Frame as a kind of land bank, enabling core CBD properties to retain value.

Nov 2013. CERA was still in military mind set - bldg demolitions in the CBD & residential red zones - without much rebuilding of new CBD bldgs, nor house rebuilds. Hence the demolition wasteland of CERA's core CBD & abandoned commercial bldgs & abandoned red zones devoid of housing. Despite CERA's early denial, only in late 2013 did CERA acknowledge there was a post quake housing crisis in Christchurch, mostly of CERA's making, with red zonings & demolitions of commercial bldgs & housing, without rapid replacement. Never mind resultant inflated housing & rental markets causing hardship for quake stricken citizens.

Content & pics, Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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