Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CERA, Disaster Agent

Wed 06.03.13. Ellerslie Flower Show time. CERA minister Brownlee was delusional if he thought that by floral fiat CERA's red zone CBD would blossom from red zone to rebuild zone.

2 images, Christchurch Botanic Gdns;

02.03.13. Flowery portaloo, Ellerslie Flower Show, Christchurch Botanic Gdns

After quake trashing, Brownlee's disaster agent CERA destroyed large chunks of Christchurch by zonings, demolitions & shoddy coordination of repairs & rebuilds. For years, CERA condoned EQC's & Fletcher's shoddy repairs to quake damaged housing.

13 images, Gloucester St:

06.03.13. Latimer Sq / Gloucester St view, demolition sites to the CBD red zone

Sceptical of Brownlee's prattling about Christchurch CBD transformed from a red zone to a rebuild zone, I wandered a circuit of the CBD's N red zone, an hour's walk. Walking before midday should show hordes of Hi Vis vested workmen rebuilding the red zone CBD.

06.03.13. Fading USAR / TF graffiti on car park wall, Gloucester St, N red zone. The car park was demolished for Blueprint E Frame, Rauora Park

Cnr Gloucester St / Manchester St: No change in N or S red zone demolition sites since I'd last passed that way. No rebuild going on.

06.03.13. Cnr Gloucester St / Manchester St view, N red zone

06.03.13. Gloucester St, W view of New Regent St restoration & Isaac Theatre Royal restoration in N red zone right. The Press & abandoned Camelot Hotel left. Camelot Hotel was demolished for the new Central Library

New Regent St restoration: Still not opened to the public, despite CERA promises. Several orange, Hi Vis vested workmen stood around talking behind a fence cordon. A common sight in Christchurch over the last 2 quake years - fence cordons & slack workmen wearing orange, Hi Vis vests.

06.03.13. Gloucester St view, New Regent St restoration, N red zone. BNZ behind awaited demolition

Gloucester St: Isaac Theatre Royal, no change, auditorium still gutted in the N red zone. Not a workman in sight.

06.03.13. Isaac Theatre Royal restoration, Gloucester St, N red zone

Forsyth Barr still gutted, abandoned, in N red zone. Not a workman in sight. Forsyth Barr would be restored to become Crowne Plaza Hotel.

06.03.13. Gloucester St view, abandoned Forsyth Barr, N red zone. Forsyth Barr would be restored to become Crowne Plaza Hotel

Farmers demolition site, N red zone: Couple of diggers drilled concrete foundations & another unmanned digger & unmanned machine waited to crunch concrete into rubble.

06.03.13. Farmers demolition site, cnr Gloucester St / Colombo St, N red zone. Central Library left awaited demolition. Craigs House & Victoria Square flats awaited demolition behind right, for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre

No rebuilding along Gloucester St, either S red zone or N red zone. Construction firm vehicles were parked by closed Novotel & abandoned Camelot Hotel, obscuring the view of Christ Church Cathedral ruin. Orange, Hi Vis vested workmen in hard hats stood around, doing no work.

5 images, Cathedral Sq:

06.03.13. Gloucester St view, Christ church Cathedral ruined nave & north transept, S red zone. Novotel wall left. Camelot Hotel right awaited demolition for Central Library rebuild

06.03.13. Cathedral Sq, NZDF checkpoint view, quake ruined Christ Church Cathedral, S red zone

06.03.13. Cathedral Sq, NZDF checkpoint view, Christ Church Cathedral part demolished tower & collapsed W facade, S red zone. Chalice middle, cop kiosk right 

Cnr Gloucester St / Colombo St: NZDF checkpoint & cordon, S red zone. Same as when I last wandered by. Cathedral Sq demolitions, like Government Life bldg, nothing going on. Workmen did Novotel repairs.

06.03.13. Cathedral Sq, NZDF checkpoint view, Government Life awaiting demolition, S red zone

06.03.12. Cathedral Sq, NZDF checkpoint view, abandoned Camelot Hotel & Novotel undergoing repairs, S red zone. Camelot Hotel was demolished for Central Library rebuild

Chancery Ln Arcade: Still weedy, derelict, abandoned, behind S red zone fence cordon. Nothing going on. Chancery Ln Arcade was later demolished for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre.

4 images, Gloucester St:

06.03.13. Gloucester St view, abandoned Chancery Ln Arcade, S red zone. Chancery Ln Arcade was demolished for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre

Gloucester St, Central Library: Still leaf littered, derelict, abandoned, behind N red zone fence cordon. Nothing going on. Central Library was later demolished for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre.

06.03.13. Abandoned Central Library, Gloucester St, N red zone. Central Library was demolished for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre.

06.03.13. Gloucester St Bridge view, Brannigans demolition site & Government Life awaiting demolition, S red zone

Cnr Gloucester St / Durham St Nth, Provincial Council in N red zone cordon: Since I last passed that way, no further restoration going on. Not a workman in sight.

06.03.13. Gloucester St Bridge view, Provincial Council's halted restoration, N red zone

3 images, Durham St Nth:

06.03.13. Amuri Courts car park demolition site left, Provincial Council halted restoration right, N red zone, Durham St Nth

06.03.13. Provincial Council restoration door, Durham St Nth, N red zone. White tarp covered removed roof. Later replaced by a protective metal roof & metal sides, awaiting prolonged restoration

Armagh St Bridge was still fence cordoned. N red zone high rises, Craigs House & Victoria Square flats lined Victoria Sq, awaiting demolition along Armagh St for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre. PWC high rise was gone, demolished months ago. Court House bldgs were fence cordoned, Victoria Sq side. Court House bldgs later became part of revamped Science Alive, relocated from demolished, old Station bldg, Moorhouse Ave. Victoria Sq: Fence cordoned, empty, no rebuilds going on around Victoria Sq. Not a workman in sight.

13 images, Armagh St, Victoria Sq:

06.03.13. Armagh St Bridge view, fence cordoned Craigs House & Victoria Square flats awaiting demolition, N red zone, for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre

06.03.13. Armagh St Bridge view, cordoned Courthouse bldgs, N red zone

Abandoned Forsyth Barr (Crowne Plaza Hotel) loured through Victoria Sq trees. 

06.03.13. Victoria Sq view, abandoned Forsyth Barr (Crowne Plaza Hotel) N red zone

Abandoned Town Hall was behind the N red zone fence cordon. Brick steps & dandelion fountains were trashed. Ivy grew down the steps towards Avon River. Not a workman in sight. An Avon punt slid downstream, CERA's idea for attracting tourists.

Town Hall was restored by Council in 2016.

06.03.13. Victoria Sq view, Avon punters by abandoned Christchurch Town Hall, N red zone. Town Hall was restored by Council in 2016

06.03.13. Quake damaged, ivy overgrown, Christchurch Town Hall steps, N red zone

06.03.13. Quake damaged, overgrown, dandelion fountain by Town Hall & Avon River, Victoria Sq, N red zone. Town Hall was restored by Council in 2016

06.03.13. Pre quake tourist sign, overgrown, Christchurch Town Hall, N red zone

06.03.13. Pre quake CBD streets sign, Victoria Bridge, Victoria Sq, N red zone

Victoria Sq, Floral Clock wheezed behind the N red zone fence cordon, near the Courthouse.

06.03.13. Cordoned floral clock by Courthouse, Victoria Sq, N red zone. Courthouse later became part of relocated Science Alive

Pallet Pavilion on Crowne Plaza Hotel demolition site: Takeaway food trailers stood by, awaiting customers. A nearby digger drilled concrete foundations at Salvation Army demolition site.

8 images, Durham St Nth:

06.03.13. Diggers, Salvation Army demolition site by Courthouse, Durham St Nth

06.03.13. Takeaway trailers, Pallet Pavilion, Crowne Plaza Hotel demolition site, cnr Durham St Nth / Kilmore St. Abandoned Spicers behind was demolished for a law office rebuild        

06.03.13. Pallet Pavilion view, demolition site left, Durham St Nth / Victoria St / Kilmore St crossing middle, Christchurch Casino right

06.03.13. Pallet Pavilion view, Victoria Sq & N red zone, cnr Durham St Nth / Kilmore St. Abandoned Forsyth Barr left was restored to Crowne Plaza Hotel. Victoria Square flats & Craigs House awaited demolition middle for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint Convention Centre. Court House right became part of relocated Science Alive

Cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth opp Christchurch Casino: A yellow digger was parked on a demolition site where a restaurant once traded.

06.03.13. Demolition site & abandoned bldgs, cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth, N red zone

Cnr Durham St Nth / Peterborough St: Guardian Trust was closed since the 22.02.11 quake, its concrete floor dug down in places to foundation level. A yellow sticker & fading USAR / TF graffiti still soiled glass doors. In a cnr, office furniture was stacked for relocation. 

06.03.13. Yellow sticker & fading USAR / TF graffiti, Guardian Trust door, cnr Durham St Nth / Peterborough St

Peterborough St: I was so bored at the lack of Brownlee vaunted rebuilds in the N red zone, I went to Peterborough St Library. There was more action in the library from readers, librarians & public at computers than orange, Hi Vis vested, rebuild workmen in the N red zone. Brownlee was delusional touting a rebuild. It wasn't happening.

There'd be little rebuild in CERA occupied CBD for the next few years. During that time, most rebuild projects were done by private sector developers, not CERA. Only in May 2015 was the rebuild Bus Exchange completed between Lichfield St & Tuam St. CERA's other anchor projects - Convention Centre, Stadium, Metro Sports Facility, Justice & Emergency Services Precinct, Margaret Mahy playground... nothing happing, yet.

Margaret Mahy Family Playground by Manchester St bridge was opened early in 2016. Justice & Emergency Services Precinct was built between Lichfield St & Tuam St in 2015-16.

Convention Centre demolition site, opp Central Library: I looked through the N red zone fence cordon to abandoned Town Hall, demolition trucks & a fire engine parked in front. So much for Brownlee's rebuild zone.

2  images, Peterborough St:

06.03.13. Peterborough St, Convention Centre demolition site view, abandoned Town Hall, N red zone. Town Hall was restored by Council in 2016

Cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St: Aha! A new Italian restaurant was surrounded by demolition sites near the Town Hall. Restaurant was closed, not doing lunchtime business, demolition sites both sides.

10 images, Colombo St, Kilmore St:

06.03.13. Italian restaurant, Colombo St

Opp cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St: Another NZDF checkpoint, a soldier checked vehicles entering the N red zone. A Fletchers construction site, with workmen constructing a private hospital, Forte Health, a 3 storey, steel frame bldg, on the block bordered by Kilmore St, Colombo St & Peterborough St. The private sector was fast with construction projects, while CERA was slow.

Fletchers built Forte Health on Avon River swampland, easily seen on the 1856 Black Map. (Council website). Never mind the underground stream traversing Kilmore St & nearby CBD streets.

06.03.13. Forte Health construction site, cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St, N red zone

CERA had two NZDF checkpoints on Colombo St, within 2 blocks of each other: Kilmore St crossing checkpoint & Gloucester St crossing checkpoint. Variable NZDF checkpoints had banned citizens from the red zone CBD ever since the 22.02.11 quake.

A checkpoint sign read:


Despite citizens surviving 11 000 quakes & enduring CERA's occupation of the abandoned, demolished CBD for nearly 2 years, CERA still treated citizens like idiots. Brownlee's prattling pertained.

06.03.13. NZDF cordon checkpoint, cnr Colombo St / Kilmore St, N red zone. Abandoned Town Hall behind. Town Hall was restored by Council in 2016

06.03.13. Peterborough St view, Forte Health construction site, N red zone. Abandoned Ernst & Young left awaited demolition

Manchester St: No rebuilds. Several demolition sites both sides of the street, including Verkerks. Behind the N red zone cordon fence, water sprayers sprayed a legume / grass mix. CERA had done dust-laying grass & flower seeding, to be continued by demolition site owners. Headline, CERA's Greater Christchurch Recovery Update, Issue 19, March 2013: "Flower meadow starts to come to life in the central city."

Flower meadow huh?

Would CERA grass & flower vast Avon River tracts it acquired in red zone residential areas - 7 000+ red zone houses demolished by CERA. For months, people living near residential red zones endured CERA demolition dust & SCIRT excavation dust.

CERA seeding some demolition sites near abandoned Town Hall was PR spin, as most demolition sites around town had normal plant succession, mostly weeds. The commonest pioneer weed I saw in demolition sites around town was ragwort. On weekly shopping trips to Moorhouse Ave, I drove past Laycocks demolition site, cnr Durham St Nth / Salisbury St. Masses of ragwort there stood about 2 m high. Ragwort weeds grew quicker than Brownlee's rebuild.

Leah, teaching at a London St school, endured months of demolition dust from nearby Richmond Working Mens Club demolition & SCIRT excavation dust from London St, Pavitt St & Cumberland St sewer excavations. Mon 11.03.13, Leah came home with a sore head after continual banging of SCIRT excavation machines on Cumberland St. Her class was closest in the school to Cumberland St, about 25 m away. 

Leah's headaches went on all week. She wasn't prone to headaches prior to SCIRT's & demolition site bangings & joltings. How many CERA / SCIRT / OSH monitors spent time in bldgs near excavations, while excavations & demolitions dragged on interminably?

Some demolitions dragged on for months, huge gaps between demolition phases. Examples: Richmond Working Mens Club & The Odeon Theatre, with flies demolished, then the gutted auditorium exposed to weathering for years, cnr Manchester St / Tuam St. Knox Church, cnr Bealey Ave & Victoria St exposed to weathering for 2 years before restoration. Chinese Methodist Church, cnr Papanui Rd / Rugby St, part demolished & exposed for 2 years then rebuilt. Anglican & RC cathedrals, only part demolished, more than 2 years post 22.02.11 quake, surrounded by cordon fencing.

In the Update CERA boasted: "The inner city cordon has now reduced from 387 hectares in February 2011 to just 38 hectares." CERA avoided calling it a military cordon, manned by NZDF, checkpoint soldiers, banning citizens from CERA's occupation of Christchurch CBD.

13 images, Manchester St:

06.03.13. Manchester St view, Forte Health construction site & new grass, N red zone

Cnr Manchester St / Kilmore St, St Lukes Anglican Church demolition site: Chartres Cathedral brick maze improvements by volunteers laying brick paving & wood mulch.

Cnr Manchester St / Cambridge Tce, Canterbury Manufacturers Association demolition site: Chestnut tree, "Orange Tree" art work, lurid orange tape swaddling tree trunk & branches.

06.03.13. Canterbury Manufacturers Association demolition site, cnr Manchester St / Cambridge Tce

06.03.13. "Orange Tree" orange taped chestnut tree, Canterbury Manufacturers Association demolition site, cnr Manchester St / Cambridge Tce. By 2015 Canterbury Manufacturers Association site was a small park

Manchester St Bridge: View across Avon River into the dead, N red zone. Not a workman in sight. A quake split wall on the riverbank teetered by the decapitated roof of Retour Restaurant. The copper domed roof lay on the riverbank opp PGC demolition site, where 18 people died in the 22.02.11 quake. The rest of Retour Restaurant was gone, demolished.

06.03.13. Manchester St Bridge view, quake broken, retaining wall, Avon River embankment, Cambridge Tce, N red zone. Abandoned Rydges Hotel beyond awaited demolition

06.03.13. Manchester St Bridge view, decapitated Retour Restaurant roof, Cambridge Tce, N red zone. In 2015 Retour Restaurant roof was plastic wrapped. Abandoned Ernst & Young behind awaited demolition

Past demolition sites, I wandered down Manchester St & looked into the N red zone at Oxford Tce & Armagh St crossings. No workmen were seen. If what I saw was Brownlee's rebuild pace, then his CBD rebuild would take decades.

Despite zombie state of the CBD, CERA's CCDU Update boasted: "The owners of 58 commercial CBD properties have already agreed to sell to the Crown.

Contracts have been signed for 31 properties and agreement in principle reached with another 27 owners.

The Crown is seeking to buy 350 properties in total under the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. Negotiations - many of them in an advanced stage - are ongoing with 182 of the properties."

In other words, NZ National govt's land grab in Christchurch CBD. NZ National govt was using taxpayers' money to shrink the CBD by speculating on CCDU's Frame land, buying & demolishing perfectly good, quake survivor bldgs & replacing them with parkland.

NZ National govt / CERA / CCDU had no proven idea how to encourage the return of commercial enterprises back to the quake / CERA trashed CBD. CERA's CCDU Blueprint was a taxpayer funded wish list. Never mind that CCDU's Blueprint planned rebuilding the CBD on liquefactioned swampland on top of the CBD Fault, which trashed Cashel Mall & damaged the CBD in the 24.12.10 Boxing Day quakes.

06.13.13. Manchester St / Oxford Tce crossing view, demolition junk, orange digger & abandoned bldgs, N red zone

06.03.13. Manchester St cordon view, weedy demolition site & abandoned, N red zone bldgs

06.03.13. Manchester St / Armagh St crossing view, abandoned N red zone bldgs

Manchester St, near Gloucester St crossing: City Seafood Market was abandoned behind a cordon fence. Weeds grew on the pavement. Next door Youth Hostel association was also abandoned behind cordon fencing & weeds. USAR / TF graffiti faded on a window pane. YHA bldg survived the quakes.

06.03.13. Abandoned, cordoned, City Seafood Market, Manchester St, N red zone

06.03.13. Abandoned YHA, Manchester St, N red zone. Quake closed, Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel) behind. Both bldgs survived the quakes

06.03.13. Abandoned, cordoned YHA, Manchester St, N red zone. YHA survived the quakes

06.03.13. Fading USAR / TF graffiti, abandoned YHA, Manchester St, N red zone. YHA survived the quakes

There was no sign of CERA's vaunted Avon River Precinct, nor any Council work thereon, supposed green Frame parkland, to entice kids back to the CBD disaster.

Margaret Mahy Family Playground was opened early 2016.

CERA boss Sutton wanted to encourage people back to the CBD by tendering out more tours of the forbidden red zone, like bike tours & walking tours for tourists. Never mind bus tours already tendered by CERA. If months ago CERA had dropped its citizen banning, NZDF cordons & NZDF soldier checkpoints, locals might've been more interested in Brownlee's rebuild zone.

CERA was keen to hear proposals for the following CBD tours: "walking tours, cycling tours, tuk-tuks, Sedgways, mini-vans, limousines."

CERA considered it safe for tour operators to conduct tours in the red zone CBD, yet considered the red zone CBD too dangerous for citizens like myself, who'd endured 11 000 quakes, to wander the red zone CBD on our own. Without paying of course.

Why wasn't CERA doing tours in the E suburbs, showing quake trashed, Third World, Christchurch squalor?

CERA's latest: CERA's CBD red zone cordon / rebuild zone cordon, would be completely opened in June. Meanwhile ruined Christ Church Cathedral case slugged along.

Deadline promises, then delays, CERA's modus operandi. Two years post 22.02.11 quake, CERA was mired in muddle. Examples:

Last winter, CERA minister Brownlee said there was no housing crisis. Yet Council housing by Avon River & elsewhere was red zoned by CERA. Recently Brownlee bollocked a councillor for slow repairs of Council housing. If there was no housing crisis, why fuss to speed up Council housing repairs?

CERA's 2 Crown offers to 7 000+ red zoned, residential land owners:

1. Latest 2007 rateable land value & house value with house insurance ceded to the Crown on home owner's acceptance of the Crown offer. (Crown used insurance pay out to settle with property owner).

2. Latest 2007 rateable land value with home owner negotiating with the insurer for house settlement.

Whatever Crown offer a red zoner accepted, the Crown acquired all the residential red zone land.

With CERA's imminent demolition of 7 000+ red zone houses, Brownlee reckoned there was no housing crisis.

Meanwhile, CERA's Crown offer to about 100 bare land owners: 

Half rateable value for uninsurable bare land, no house on the land.

Just because bare land was uninsurable, CERA discriminated against bare land owners with cheapskate, half rateable value offers?

And where was CERA's promised advocacy service for red zoners having difficulties with tardy insurers?

Sat 06.04.13. Greater Christchurch Recovery Update, Issue 20, April 2013, "SCIRT key projects April 2013:

Stanmore Road from Avonside Drive to North Avon Road will be one way, north only, from early April for 8-10 weeks. Several work crews from two SCIRT delivery teams, Downer and MacDow, will be working at the same time to reduce the time the road is one way and minimise the flow-on effects on businesses. Both waste water and storm water pipes will be repaired. London street will also be fully closed to traffic from Perth Street to Stanmore Road for six weeks from late March..."

More headaches for Leah due to excavator & truck noise, dust & joltings. More detours for months besieging Leah's school. Leah complained about machine noise & joltings & dust aggravation for months. She disliked visiting CERA's red zone, cordoned CBD, as continual dust irritated her. I dreaded to think of all the excavation & demolition nasties in the dust - bacterial spores from sewage, demolition asbestos & arsenic, copper & chromium from treated wood.

CERA listed 4 more SCIRT April projects in Christchurch. Stanmore Rd / London St excavation hassles by SCIRT was just one example of many excavation hassles caused by SCIRT around Christchurch over the last couple of years.

*Wandered Christchurch Botanic Gdns, Gloucester St, Cathedral Sq, Durham St Nth, Armagh St, Victoria Sq, Peterborough St, Colombo St, Kilmore St, Manchester St.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See CERA's new tourism opportunities in the rebuild zone, 06.03.13.

See CERA boss Roger Sutton's update 04.03.13. 

See Rebuild delays stretch patience (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Social housing is council's shame Brownlee (The Press / Stuff Co).

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