Monday, July 23, 2012

Quake Art, Royal Commission of Inquiry, Blueprint CBD

Tue 24.07.12. The Press reported that Christchurch Art Gallery would be closed for years while it was lifted & "base isolation technology" was used to quake-proof it. Cost: $36.7 million. The technology consisted of black, rubber blocks between concrete foundations & concrete bldg, enabling the bldg to wobble in quakes, instead of collapsing. Wellington's Te Papa Museum had the same base isolation technology.

I'd seen smaller blocks of black rubber between concrete bridge spans & piers & between spans & abutments. Snag was that some rubber blocks on bridges were squashed or squeezed out of position by quakes, leaving concrete to grind & spall on concrete.

Post 04.09.10 & 22.02.11 quakes, Civil Defence used the Art Gallery as HQ while abusing the city during states of emergencies, with cop & NZDF soldier cordons, USAR / TF graffiti, red, yellow & green inspection stickers, citizen bannings & demolitions.

The Press also reported South Library would be closed for quake strengthening after ground, lateral spreading & sinking of the library towards nearby Heathcote River. Pre 2010-2011 quakes, the Art Gallery & South Library were new bldgs.

Leah & I went to South Library on Sunday. On Monday South Library was closed, the same day that Tuam St Library was opened next to the new, temporary Bus Exchange. Library staff from red zone, abandoned Central Library, transferred to Tuam St library.

1 image, Tuam St:

Hopefully all the belated closures & expensive fixings of new bldgs by Council would make those bldgs safe in future earthquakes. Post 22.02.11 quake, after 42 300 citizens / month used South Library, why did Council take 18 months to declare it dangerous?

Quake art had evolved during quakes & was seen on streets from Christchurch CBD to Sumner. Some examples:

Cnr Barbadoes St / Worcester St: Luridly decorated demolition site showing a defunct piano, 2 garishly ribboned "Tibetan" prayer wheels, Youth Hub activity board, painted flagstones & painted planks by a wooden fence.

3 images, Barbadoes St:

Cnr Madras St / St Asaph St: Mural by a post quake demolition site / car park

8 images, Madras St:

Madras St: Two bronze, black bulls on bronze, black grand pianos, sculptor Michael Parekowhai. The black bulls were on Edward Gibbon  / apex car hire demolition sites, Madras St, opp quake survivor NG Gallery.

In 2013 the bronze-bull-on-piano sculpture was bought by Christchurch Art Gallery & ensconced in Christchurch Art Gallery for its grand reopening in 2015, after years of gallery repairs.

Madras St: 185 Empty Chairs Memorial, Oxford Tce Baptist Church, demolition site. 185 people were killed by the 22.02.11 quake. The 185 Empty Chairs were all painted white by artist Majendie.

Later the 185 Empty Chairs Memorial was relocated to St Pauls Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church, demolition site, opp the CTV demolition site, cnr Cashel St / Madras St

Cnr Kilmore St / Montreal St, by Cranmer Sq: Giant photos, by Hewson, on boards covering quake trashed Cranmer Court - pics of bldg interiors & people painting, skateboarding, bedding on the floor... Cranmer Court was demolished in Oct 2012 after protests.

15 images, Kilmore St:


Cnr Manchester St / Kilmore St, on St Lukes Anglican Church demolition site: Brick maze & a stone cross made out of 185 demolished church stones, memorial to the 185 dead in the 22.02.11 quake. The brick maze was a copy of Chartres Cathedral maze, France.

A sign on a tree read:



185 people died as a result of the
  22 February 2011 earthquake.

185 precious lives are remembered here,
    with 185 pieces of Halswell stone
    recovered from St Luke's Church
   damaged beyond repair on that day.

          May they rest in peace.

           St Luke's in the City.

From the stone cross, I looked W across red zone, CBD demolition sites, past abandoned high rises, to abandoned town Hall.

Manchester St, by Harley Davidson shop: Giant Monopoly game "board," by Helen Trappitt, on a demolition concrete slab, showing Manchester St property, 2 green Monopoly houses & a mini digger.

4 images, Manchester St:

Cnr Manchester St / Southwark St: White road signs on a pole pointing in various directions, showing a plethora of parking places on demolition sites since the quakes.

Moorhouse Ave, August 2012: Demolition diggers work of art, old station & clock tower (Science Alive & Hoyts). The old station, reinforced concrete with brick cladding, was one of the strongest bldgs in Christchurch, when it was built to withstand quakes in 1953. An ugly, brick clad bldg. The quake damaged, wood-cladded, clock tower loomed over Moorhouse Ave, with fence cordons obstructing traffic, ever since the 04.09.10 quake. The clock stopped when the quake struck. Sign enough. The old station was demolished.

8 images, Moorhouse Ave:


Cnr Colombo St / Byron St, Sydenham: Two demolition site murals - black work tools on a yellow background, artist Wayne Youle; 3 chattering Maori.

13 images, Colombo St:

Cnr Colombo St / Sandyford St: Graffiti mural by a demolition site. I watched 4 gulls bathing in the demolition site puddle, near Churchills Tavern, demolition site.

Cnr Colombo St / Wordsworth St, Sydenham: Gap Filler hut on a demolition site, with gardens, wooden pallet paving, garden games, like noughts & crosses & mini golf, near a temporary coffee shop & two shipping container shops - a picture / mirror framer & a dairy, back dropped by quake closed, Sydenham WINZ office, which was later demolished & replaced by a glassy, office block.

A message painted on a Gap Filler wall:

          SEE NO MORE

Business as usual, Colombo St, Sydenham was alive, cordon fences long gone, demolitions completed. Unlike CERA's red zone CBD, with slow demolitions of high rises, still checkpointed by NZDF soldiers, 18 months post 22.02.11 quake. 

"Sumner Rocks," the road to Sumner: Along the way, before & beyond McCormacks Bay causeway, shipping container cordons protected traffic from quake rock falls. Some shipping containers had Container Art, realistic or abstract pics on tarps covering container sides.

25 images, Main Rd:

Cnr Main Rd / Mt Pleasant Rd, by Avon / Heathcote Estuary: Below a cliff, a 2 shipping container cordon. Container Art - 2 photo tarps, flowers pic & Lyttelton Harbour pic.


Main Rd below Clifton sea cliff, from quake-stunted, Shag Rock to Gollans Point cave: Scores of shipping containers, double layer, rock fall protection cordon, some containers covered by Container Art, various subjects.

Cnr Nayland St / Wakefield Ave, Sumner: More container art, the container cordon continued along Wakefield Ave. 1 shipping container was blanketed by knitted, woollen squares, opp a new skateboard ramp on the Sumner Borough Council demolition site.

14 images, Wakefield Ave;

Wakefield Ave: Long, double layer of shipping containers protecting Sumner from cliff rock fall. 2 Container Art tarps, 1 floral decorated road cone.

2 images, Clifton Bay:

Cnr Clifton Bay / Clifton Tce: A pink shawled rock.

*Wandered Tuam St, Barbadoes St, Madras St, Kilmore St, Manchester St, Moorhouse Ave, Colombo St, Main St, Wakefield Ave, Clifton Bay.

Meanwhile at the resumed Royal Commission of Inquiry (stopped for a week, a commissioner was sick) as to why the CTV bldg collapsed in the 22.02.11 quake, killing 115 people, Texan engineer, professor Mander uttered platitudes about a "vague" govt report & bad inspection stickering, post 04.09.10 quake, by Council inspectors & passed the buck to Council, saying the CTV bldg should've been closed post 04.09.10 quake.

Mander reckoned damage caused by quakes before the 22.02.11 quake caused the CTV bldg to collapse, even praising shonky design of the CTV bldg:

"The fact the CTV building survived with only minor visually observable damage is a testament to the efficiency of a design that met the aims and objectives of the design codes. For any structure to survive such a high level of shaking is a bonus. It was certainly not the requirement at the time the CTV building was designed and constructed in the 1980s." (The Press 24.07.12).

Design & construction of the CTV bldg was crap. Many Christchurch bldgs survived the quakes without collapse.

Mander opined why the CTV bldg collapsed was maybe because joins at concrete beams & columns weren't reinforced with steel. He opined it was difficult to see steel at joins after concrete was poured. Vague Mander jabbered about big & small mistakes by builders & engineers. minimising the fact that design checking & construction checking was rotten.

Thurs 26.07.12. True to form, structural engineer Falloon at the Commission blamed a graduate engineer for a plan to make a refit staircase hole in the CTV 2nd level concrete slab & said the plan was lost. Never mind that Falloon didn't take responsibility as boss for signing off the graduate's work. Falloon couldn't even remember the graduate's surname! Passing the buck by engineers at the Commission was rife.

Pity the families of the 115 dead. Engineers repeatedly insulted them with their pathetic opinions & buck passing.

Alan Reay & David Harding engineers' buck passing: Junior engineer Harding did most of the calculations for the CTV bldg design & said he hoped for supervision from Reay, his engineer boss. Reay said there was no supervision or review, as Harding was a capable engineer having done infrastructure engineering before rejoining his firm. Nobody was taking any responsibility for their work, nor their subordinates' work. Engineers didn't want to be accountable for their work.

Fri 26.07.12. The Press: A Royal Commission panel of engineers opined that the CTV bldg collapsed due to weak concrete columns. They couldn't make up their slithery minds if the CTV bldg collapsed due to weak concrete joints, or weak concrete columns, as their computer modelling only accommodated column investigation, not joints.
EQC boss Simpson wanted insurers on board to "increase efficiencies," allowing EQC to exclusively geotech drill 10 000 TC3 green-blue properties. Yet EQC wanted to use only 12 drill rigs. How long would that take? Of course insurers would join EQC "efficiencies." Another excuse for insurers to blame EQC for delays, so insurers could delay payments. Never mind years of squalor TC3 citizens would endure waiting for repairs.
Mon 30.07.12. Early evening. Outside the Council bldg about 300 protestors, representing 28 000 green-blue zone, TC3 home owners, vented their disgusting living, insurance, repair & rebuild conditions, while inside the Council bldg PM Key, CERA minister Brownlee & mayor Parker boasted about CERA's Blueprint for Christchurch CBD!

Isaacs, ex Timaru accountant, ex CERA demolitions boss & his gang of 75 concocted the CERA Blueprint in 100 days, basing it on Council's Share an Idea scheme done by Council & Cantabrians post 22.02.11 quake. Isaacs, the demolisher, the rebuilder. Ha!

Tue 31.07.12. The Press front page screamed, white lettering on red backgrounds:

"GREEN SPACE WILL 'FRAME' A SMALLER CBD." The laterally inverted L Frame, S of Avon River, bordering Madras St & St Asaph St, would need many more National govt / CERA purchases of quake trashed properties & demolitions, thus banning citizens from the CBD for many more months of NZDF checkpoints at red zone cordons.

Disaster Capitalism: National govt / CERA wanted to buy 840 old CBD bldgs, at market value, for the new Green Frame parkland (later dubbed Rauora Park) then later sell those properties at profit. The Blueprint CBD was another National govt, land grab, to buy cheap & sell expensive, using taxpayers' money, speculating on citizens' CBD properties.

National govt / CERA was already paying residential red zoners only rateable value, while NZ National govt / CERA land grabbed 1 000s of red zone, residential properties.

National PM Key, having made his personal millions as a merchant banker in London, using investors' money, was now using NZ taxpayers' money to gamble on Christchurch CBD's future.

Where would the old Manchester St, Red Light District go? CERA's Blueprint Green Frame could become the new Red Light District, as it extended W from Madras St to the old Red Light District, Manchester St.

There was no need for a Green Frame, as NZ National govt had already received a petition signed by 18 500 people proposing AVON / Otakaro Park on downriver, red zone residential land, trashed by quakes. 

More CERA Blueprint edifices to be built on CBD quake trashed & CERA trashed land:

"A NEW CONVENTION CENTRE ON THE SQUARE." To be built from Victoria Sq to Cathedral Sq, including some of Gloucester St & Craigs House, Victoria Square Apartments, Central Library, Farmers, Chancery Ln & Brannigans demolition sites. A new Central Library would be built on Camelot Hotel demolition site, Kilmore St, by Cathedral Sq.

Who paid?


Who  paid?


Who paid?

"A NEW JUSTICE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES PRECINCT," Tuam St. The Tower / Court House, Durham St Nth, had survived the quakes OK. More duplication.

Who Paid?

"A NEW PERFORMING ARTS PRECINCT," Cnr Colombo St / Armagh St, opp new Convention Centre & new Central Library. Duplication of Town Hall performing arts facilities & hotels' convention facilities.

Who paid?

Also reported was a new Maori Cultural Centre to be erected on the Crowne Plaza Hotel demolition site, Kilmore St. More duplication, as there were already Maori maraes all over town. Would those existing Maori cultural centres become disused?

CERA moved goal posts for its madcap, precinct schemes. Regarding CBD court houses by Avon River & Victoria Sq, a Jury Summons letter, Ministry of Justice, I received in June stated in its pamphlet:


After the 22 February earthquake the Tower Building had a 'green sticker.'

An early engineering report stated: The Tower building is of very robust construction. The building performed extremely well and there is minimal damage other than some minor structural damage. Opus International Consultants.


* Months of quantitative assessments and geotechnical investigations were undertaken at this building.

* The Ministry's engineering work confirms that the Tower Building is a low-risk building.

* The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has reviewed our engineering reports and has no structural engineering concerns over occupation of the Tower Building..."

2016. Science Alive announced it was relocating from the demolished, Old Station / Science Alive bldg, Moorhouse Ave to a new Science Alive bldg by Tower Building, 282 Durham St Nth. (The Press 29.01.2016)

NZ National govt would pay for the new Justice & Emergency Services precinct, Tuam St & new Convention Centre, Cathedral Sq. So far, it was vague who'd pay for the roofed stadium, Madras St; Metro Sports Facility, Moorhouse Ave & new Library, Gloucester St. Never mind confusion over the New Performing Arts Precinct & quake trashed, Town Hall.

Adding insult to injury, CERA minister Brownlee hinted that Council must sell revenue producing assets like Christchurch Airport, Lyttelton Port, Orion utility, City Care... to pay for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint CBD rebuild, despite Council assets giving profits, keeping rates relatively low. (The Press, Wed 01.07.12).

Later on NZ National govt would sign an agreement with Council as to who would pay for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint precincts. Whether paid by NZ National govt, or Council, or shared payment by both, NZ National govt was forcing Council to pay for CERA's Blueprint precincts without costing CERA's Blueprint precincts properly. Never mind that ratepayers would have increased rates forced on them to pay for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint precincts.

Delusional Isaacs & his CERA gang forgot to mention quake surviving, CBD businesses on the core CBD fringes, within the four avenues. All those quake surviving businesses in & outside the Green Frame were no longer CBD huh?

Isaacs' "need to shrink the commercial heart of the central city," to increase the value of Blueprint CBD properties was a con, as it relied on Green Frame property owners selling their CBD properties cheaply to the Crown. Crown purchases of Frame land would be subsidized by taxpayers too.

Isaacs's & Brownlee's Blueprint precincts needed demolishing of perfectly good, quake survivor bldgs, like Central Library, including heritage bldgs, & rebuilds like Westende House, in the new Green Frame, to make way for parkland.

Never mind Christchurch Art Gallery, Montreal St, to be repaired; Arts Centre, Worcester Blvd, to be repaired & Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave, which already had Maori & pakeha exhibits.

Also reported: The new Cricket Oval would swipe a bit of Hagley Park. Cricket authorities were jumping on the gimme-gimme bandwagon, with ex Black Cap, Lee Germon threatening that the new Cricket Oval was needed for international matches. So what? There were many other cricket venues in Christchurch. (Despite protests, Hagley Park Cricket Oval was used for 2015 World Cup cricket).

What next? What about a future Christchurch Olympics? Spend ratepayers' money of course. Straighten out the Avon River as Brownlee desired, for an Olympics rowing course & with all the new sports facilities in the Blueprint, make an Olympic Village, instead of a CBD. Immortalizing bronze plaques all over the show. Maybe a Sir or two in New Year Honours awards. (At the end of 2013, Brownlee warmed to that nonsense, suggesting Christchurch as the Sports Capital).

Also reported: Health Precinct, Christchurch Hospital environs. IT Innovation Precinct, St Asaph St. Residential Demonstration Project, Madras St. Avon River Precinct, where CBD river banks would be tarted up by Council as parklands, with the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, where Centennial Pool & other bldgs once stood.

CERA's Blueprint CBD would rebuild on old, quake shattered CBD swampland, on top of the CBD Fault, where hundreds of bldgs were quake liquefactioned & destroyed by the 2010-2011 quakes. CERA repeated Victorians' mistakes by rebuilding a quake prone CBD on a bog!

There were no checks on CERA's ex Timaru accountant, cum latter day demolisher Isaacs, just pats on the back from National govt cronies. Silent CERA boss Sutton didn't rein in Isaacs.

Isaacs continued his demolition lust, wanting to demolishing many bldgs in the Green Frame, like Calendar Girls, reopened post quakes & other night clubs. Isaacs conveniently forgot night clubs brought mega bucks to Christchurch, unlike theatre productions & high culture.

Why not demolish the new foundations where the new Cardboard Cathedral would be Isaacs? After all the new Cardboard Cathedral, on St Johns demolition site, would be next to CERA's Blueprint stadium, cnr Hereford St / Madras St, by Latimer Sq. Isaacs could persuade bishop Matthews & diocese to build a Cathedral Pub next to CERA's Blueprint stadium to slake secular thirsts.

What about the drawing room, which survived serial-quakes & continued business through quake times, cnr St Asaph St / Manchester St? Would the drawing room & nearby, quake survivor Odeon Theatre be exceptions to demolisher lusts in the Green Frame, or just demolished?

What about, brand new, Westende House, cnr Manchester St / Worcester St, in the Green Frame, Ground Zero in the 04.09.10 quake? Would Westende House be demolished for green lust? (It was, Manchester St was widened for bus routes, Rauora Park alongside).

Despite the reduced Blueprint CBD, citizens were banned from the red zone CBD since the 22.02.11 quake, by fence cordons & NZDF checkpoints. Citizens were banned seeing for themselves the extent of serial quake damages, neither could citizens decide for themselves (unhindered by CERA) whether the Blueprint was valid & fair. Citizens weren't consulted about the Blueprint by CERA / National govt. Isaacs was already muttering about reduced value of post quake, CBD properties.

Why was CERA building its Blueprint CBD on top of the CBD Fault, which had trashed Cashel Mall during the Boxing Day quake, 2010?

Eastwards, the CBD Fault crouched under Barbadoes St & waited for CERA's Blueprint 35 000 seater, roofed stadium. Never mind that the CTV bldg collapsed on Cashel St / Madras St cnr. CTV demolition site was across the road from the proposed new stadium. Imagine the carnage should another quake hit the Blueprint 35 000 seater stadium, while the stadium was used.

If Key, Brownlee, Isaacs, Sutton & Parker opened their eyes, they'd see Christchurch CBD had already relocated westwards across Hagley Park to Addington & Riccarton. Riccarton Rd, Blenheim Rd & Lincoln Rd had absorbed business relocations from the quake trashed CBD long before CERA touted its Blueprint CBD, on quake trashed swampland, above the CBD Fault.

Nearly 2 years post 04.09.10 quake, trashed roads were still quake trashed & no quake damaged, Avon River bridges were fixed.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Library closure king hit for regular users (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Govt report into CTV collapse vague (The Press / Stuff Co).

See No evidence of CTV steel reinforcing (The Press / Stuff Co).

See No critical damage to CTV from 2010 quake (The Press / Stuff Co).

See EQC wants to take over all drilling (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Ratepayers to fund big ticket items (The Press / Stuff Co).

See New 50m Science Alive building in Christchurch (The Press / Stuff Co).

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