Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ragged Edge of the Red Zone

Wed 12.12.12. I often drove the ragged edge of the red zone beside Avon River. Luke had his learner's licence, but Luke's girlfriend lived at Southshore. Dad's taxi, I drove from Burnside to Southshore via QE11 Dr. I had several return options. Return via half-smooth, half bumpy QE11 Dr & quake stuffed Travis Rd, or the hard way via the ragged edge of the red zone, ghost world, by Avon River:

1. Pages Rd through Bexley, past quake ravaged, red zone streets Waitaki St & Bexley Rd...
2. New Brighton Rd, ragged red zone, past Burwood to The Palms... 
3. New Brighton Rd, cross Avondale Rd Bridge, then ragged red zone Avonside Dr...
4. Ragged red zone, New Brighton Rd, Locksley Ave, Dallington Tce, River Rd, Swanns Rd, Stanmore Rd...

Since the quakes, after people evacuated & CERA red zoned 1 000s of riverside properties, quake trashed houses became derelict, gardens overgrown & tagged with broken, vandalized windows. Every time I drove the ragged red zone, it was more desolate with more CERA demolitions & weedy gaps between houses, after evacuees took the CERA / Crown offer & / or dealt with insurers for rebuild pay outs.

CERA's latest "Red Zone Statistics

Total number of red zoned properties in greater Christchurch: 7 860.

Red zoned property owners who've returned a sale & purchase agreement: 6 315.

Number who've settled with the Crown: 5 064.

(Of those, 1 286 selected option 1 where the Crown buys the land & improvements. 3 778 selected option 2 where the Crown purchases the land only)." Greater Christchurch Recovery Update, Issue 16, December 2012.

The above statistics confirmed NZ National govt's / CERA's red zone, residential land grab, mostly riverside & some Port Hills properties. It added to NZ National govt's / CERA's land grab of scores of CBD red zoned properties for its precincts & N, E, S green Frame land. NZ National govt's land grab of Christchurch CBD was touted by CCDU / NZ National govt as "Land Acquisition."

What CERA didn't report was that the Crown would compensate only "half the most recent rateable value" for red zone vacant land, which was uninsurable. (CERA press release 13 September 2012). A NZ National govt rip off. That also applied to CBD Frame land confiscations, for landowners refusing to sell their CBD land to CERA / CCDU. NZ National govt MPs should lead by example & put their personal properties on the market at half rateable value, to reduce inflation.

CERA's CCDU Blueprint wanted to rebuild Christchurch CBD on swampland & the CBD Fault. And use taxpayers' money for the CBD Frame land grab & burden ratepayers for decades with expensive loss-makers like a 35 000 seater, roofed stadium & convention centre on swampland & the CBD Fault.

The Press 15.12.12 quoted costs of the stadium & convention centre as $400m & $300m respectively. What for? Hotels & school halls or varsity / tech / training college lecture theatres / halls could be used as convention centres & Christchurch already had enough stadiums. CCDU / CERA was bonkers wanting to foist those expenses on ratepayers, when many people existed in quake trashed houses & drove on quake trashed roads.

The iniquity of NZ National govt's, CBD land grab was that NZ National govt used taxpayers' money to boot CBD land owners off their CBD land & replace with loss maker, so-called "anchor projects," like a convention centre & a stadium & green Frame parks. The N, E, S Frame parks were NZ National govt land speculation. ("CCDU FAQ - Land Acquisition" disappeared from the internet when CERA disbanded).

5 images, Baker St:

12.12.12. Quake survivor, Baker St house

Via option 4 above, I drove the ragged red zone to Stanmore Rd near where Leah worked. All the red zone roads were quake stuffed, pot holed, shingled, lumpy & bumpy. Houses were derelict, more demolition sites than when I'd last driven that way, several dangerous houses fence cordoned with demolition notices on fencing. A few joggers & drivers bumped along, but there was no signs of life in 100s of overgrown houses by Avon River.

Leah's Jean Seabrook Memorial School, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St, was twice liquefactioned in 22.02.11 & 13.06.11 quakes. Staff & parents twice dug the school out of liquefaction mud. The school was close to Avon River's ragged red zone, on the fringe of the CBD's red zone.

29 images, London St:

12.12.12. Quake survivor, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St

12.12.12. Teacher, Jean Seabrook Memorial School, London St

Since the Feb 22 quake, a green, plastic, sewage tank stood on the pavement by the school on Pavitt St cnr. Recently SCIRT had spent weeks repairing sewage pipes in London St. School staff & nearby house / flat residents had to detour to their homes & work. Nearly 2 years post 22.02.11 quake, London St was still in a bad state of repair.

  12.12.12. Cnr London St / Pavitt St view of Richmond Working Mens Club. The Club was demolished

Across London St, about 50 paces from Leah's school, I looked at quake trashed, Richmond Working Mens Club. It was trashed in the Feb 22 & June 13 quakes. Months later the club was part demolished. Over the last week, more demolition. A cordon gate sign read:


Never mind Leah's school playground was less than 50 m from the club demolition site. Demolishers put school kids', staffs' & residents' lives at risk. They could've waited a couple of weeks to do their dirty work during school holidays.

12.12.12. Richmond Working Mens Club demolition, cnr London St / Stanmore Rd

Over the last year, Leah complained that whenever a heavy vehicle passed the school on London St, the school shook. That was over & above 1 000s of quake aftershocks. She'd had a guts full!

12.12.12. Richmond Working Mens Club demolition, cnr London St / Stanmore Rd

Later Richmond Working Mens Club was completely demolished.

Next to Richmond Working Mens Club, Richmond Methodist Church was on Stanmore Rd. The hall was gone, demolished. Busy Stanmore Rd near the ragged red zone, was a messy mix of quake survivor bldgs, demolition sites & tagging. An idiot spray-painted "duck" all over the show. Pre quakes, Leah & school kids had regularly used the church hall for school activities.

19 images, Stanmore Rd:

12.12.12. Quake survivor, Richmond Methodist Church, Stanmore Rd. Richmond Methodist Church was relocated by truck to Marshlands Rd 30.03.16

A banner on Richmond Methodist Church fence cordon read:


The protest was in vain as MOE soon closed Richmond School together with several other Christchurch schools, like Phillipstown School. MOE used quakes as an excuse to vandalize Christchurch education. Quakes were an excuse for NZ National govt to disrupt quake traumatized communities & asset sale schools on valuable land.

12.12.12. Richmond School, Rubble Renewal Project, Richmond Methodist Hall, demolition site, Stanmore Rd

Post quakes, school kids from nearby Richmond School, Pavitt St, made a community garden on the church demolition site, a Gap Filler initiative. By the community garden, a mural was on the concrete wall of Richmond Working Mens Club.

A sign in the garden read:

"This year children of Richmond School  have been learning about 'L.I.F.E.' How our Life Impacts the Future of our Earth...

Our senior class took the opportunity to plan, design and create a Rubble Renewal project on this Methodist Church site. What you see here is a combination of many weeks of work and the generosity of our supporters' time, hard work and resources...

We know that this will be a space that will be enjoyed and cared for by our community."

12.12.12. Richmond School, Rubble Renewal Project, Richmond Methodist Hall demolition site, Stanmore Rd

Richmond School was slated for closure by the National govt MOE. MOE minister Parata destroyed quake survivor communities by closures & mergers of schools all over Christchurch. Parata was a list MP, without an electorate mandate to do NZ National govt's dirty work.

*Wandered Baker St, London St, Stanmore Rd.

Sat 15.12.12. 6.03 pm, mag 3.5 quake, 9 km depth, 10 km SE of Christchurch (GeoNet). Shook our lounge sofa I sat on while I watched TV news. Leah didn't feel it as she was walking around.

Fri 21.12.12. MOE was in such disarray that the Education Secretary, Lesley Longstone, a Pom, was sacked after serving only a year of her 5 year contract. Parata was PM Key's puppet, causing strife in Christchurch schools, like wanting to increase class sizes & botching teacher payrolls for months.

There were expedient apologies by managers, after being named & shamed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry & Coroner's Inquest into 115 deaths at the CTV bldg collapse in the 22.02.11 quake: Reay, 1986 engineering design boss of the CTV bldg, apologised belatedly to the Royal Commission. McGill fire service boss apologised for slack management of fire & USAR / TF on 22.02.11 quake day.

Mayor Parker apologised for Council's incompetent green stickering of the CTV bldg post 04.09.10 & 26.12.10 quakes. Parker also apologised for Council's consenting design & construction of the CTV bldg in 1986, despite design not being up to code. (The Star 12.12.12).

Pity apologies were so many months post CTV collapse, after intense legal & public scrutiny of their organizations.

Wed 26.12.12. We had Boxing Day lunch at Luke's girlfriend's home, South New Brighton. A late afternoon quake shook the house & rattled windows. On Christmas Day breakfast time, a 3.5 mag quake had passed us by at Burnside, without us feeling it.

The South New Brighton house had a sewage pump station in the garden & in the 22.02.11 quake the concrete manhole lifted 1 m above the soil. The sewage pipes were fixed, but the land subsided, causing a room to pull away from the house. (Mar 2016, Luke's ex girlfriend suffered PTSD, her nerves shot, enduring the ragged edge of Pegasus Bay Faults & Port Hills Fault).

I'd noticed that subsidence all over town, after SCIRT had dug up roads to replace / repair pipes. After SCIRT excavations & SCIRT re-laid patchy tarmac, roads were often worse than before, due to subsidence, ground movements in aftershocks & new pot holes or bumps forming.

After more than 2 years of quakes we were left with quake anxiety, wondering when the next big quake would strike & bldg phobia, avoiding what was left of high rises. There was talk of keeping Forsyth Barr in the CBD, despite its stairs failing & people being lowered from windows during 22.02.11 quakes.

You'd never catch me entering high rises Forsyth Barr (Crowne Plaza Hotel) nor Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) again. Self preservation. Stairs gone in Forsyth Barr & wall surface cracks in Pacific Tower allowed oxidation of reinforcement steel. Don't tell me that epoxy gluing of wall cracks in Pacific Tower strengthened that high rise!

We were left with quake anniversaries - where we were & what we did when 5 big quakes struck - 04.09.10 - 26.12.10 - 22.02.11 - 13.06.11 - 23.12.11.

As rumblings continued, when would the next big quake hit? Seismologists were quiet.


30.03.16. The Press reported that Richmond Methodist Church was relocated by truck to Marshlands Rd. It wasn't the first or last wooden bldg to be relocated by truck post quakes.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Education secretary quits job (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Further red zone properties addressed 13 September 2012 (CERA press release).

See Forsyth Barr building may be repaired (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Pegasus Bay Faults (NIWA).

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