Saturday, March 30, 2013

Post Quakes Christchurch, Dusty Disaster

Sat 30.03.13. "How was your Easter Saturday?" asked Luke.

"Ruined & wrecked," I replied. "What a disaster."

CERA had opened a niche in the red zone CBD for public to see a bit of ruined High St & ruined Hereford from Hereford St / High St / Colombo St crossing. CERA minister Brownlee had recently said Christchurch red zone CBD was no longer red zone but rebuild zone. In Brownlee's dreams, but not reality.

Since Leah & I'd last passed that way, opposite Ibis Hotel on Hereford St, the astro turf soccer pitch was gone. The red zone bldg on Colombo St at the end of the pitch was gone, demolished.

Colombo St / Hereford St / High St crossing: Northwards, a whole block of bldgs was gone, demolished - IBM & ANZ. From Hereford St fence cordon, we looked straight into abandoned public toilets, through their glass walls & straight into Cathedral Sq, to the backside of CERA porta-cabin offices. Ruined Christchurch Cathedral was obscured by trees. The demolition site was a mess, an orange digger parked on rubble, a deep concrete foundation trench & steel girders stacked on the demolition site.

Images, quake damaged Hereford St:

30.03.13. Hereford St view of red zone IBM demolition site. Cathedral Sq, closed public toilets left, CERA porta-cabin offices beyond

30.03.13 Hereford St view of red zone demolition sites: IBM & ANZ. Red zone, abandoned bldgs beyond, left to right: Forsyth Barr, Camelot Hotel, Christchurch Cathedral behind trees, Novotel, Pacific Tower (Rendezvous Hotel)

30.03.13. Hereford St view of ANZ demolition site. Red zone, abandoned Camelot Hotel middle, Christchurch Cathedral behind trees. Camelot Hotel was demolished for the Central Library rebuild

30.03.13. Hereford St / Colombo St crossing view of red zone, ruined Christchurch Cathedral behind trees

30.03.13. High St / Colombo St / Hereford St view of demolition sites, reopened Ibis Hotel left & red zone, abandoned telecom middle. Abandoned, glass fronted, public toilets below, Cathedral Sq. Government Life awaited demolition right

30.03.13. High St / Colombo St / Hereford St crossing view of ANZ demolition site. Cathedral Sq, red zone Government Life awaited demolition beyond. Chalice right

Across Colombo St, BNZ bldg was part demolished. Not even CERA would complete demolishing BNZ, it was asbestos riddled. Never mind public allowed to view CERA's mess. Decades hence, I expected many Christchurch citizens would have asbestosis, after imbibing asbestos, or silicosis from concrete dust, during quake years.

30.03.13. BNZ demolition in progress, cnr Colombo St / Hereford St

30.03.13. Colombo St / Hereford St / High St crossing view of BNZ demolition in progress left, Hanafins demolition site right

30.03.13. Stook sculpture, red zone, cnr Colombo St / High St

30.03.13. Colombo St / Hereford St / High St crossing, southern view of red zone Colombo St. Demolition sites both sides of street

High St: We wandered up dusty High St past Hanafins demolition site, past KFC demolition site, past abandoned, dusty shops with fading USAR / TF graffiti on windows & glass doors.

Beyond the fence cordon, a whole block of bldgs was demolished one side of Cashel St, from Colombo St crossing to High St crossing, a huge demolition site, 2 skips behind the cordon fence. From High St cordon, we saw right across the demolition site, to Colombo St entrance of Restart Cashel Mall by The Crossing. The other side of Cashel St still had some abandoned bldgs, one a demolition in progress, 3 diggers parked nearby.

Images, quake damaged High St:

30.03.13. SE view of recently opened, red zone High St. All bldgs were quake closed for 2 years, so far

30.03.13. High St view of Cashel St red zone, demolition sites & abandoned bldgs. The Crossing on right of white bldg

30.03.13. Westpac demolition site, cnr High St / Cashel St red zone

30.03.13. Holiday Inn demolition site left, Westpac demolition site right, cnr High St / Cashel St red zone

Dust was everywhere, on the ground, coating bldgs, in the air. CERA had stopped laying dust with water tankers. High St was gritty with dust as we walked along the middle tram line. Several pedestrians viewed the ruins, some just taking it all in, others like me snapping pics. Even a couple of cars, churning dust, drove to the end of the fence cordon, then turned back.

30.03.13. Holiday Inn demolition site, cnr High St / Cashel St red zone

At the end of High St fence cordon, we stared at Westpac demolition site & a heap of rubble on Holiday Inn demolition site. The last time we'd wandered that way, more than 2 years ago, New Year 2010-11, post Boxing Day quake, bldgs were alive then. We'd sat on a High St bench & looked at Wespac, Holiday Inn & Hotel Grand Chancellor high rises, now gone forever. A heap of twisted reinforcement steel lay on Hotel Grand Chancellor rubble.

For the last 2 years public was banned from the red zone by Civil Defence & CERA, by means of fence cordons & NZDF checkpoints. All that was left was a sanitized, ruined quakescape of demolition sites & abandoned bldgs.

30.03.13. Demolition site & abandoned bldg, cnr High St / Cashel St red zone. Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition site behind

30.03.13. High St view of red zone, Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition site

30.03.13. NW view of recently opened, red zone High St. All bldgs were quake closed for 2 years, so far

We wandered past Avonmore Tertiary Institute due to open on Tuesday.

30.03.13. Avonmore Tertiary Institute due for post quake opening, High St red zone

30.03.13. USAR / TF graffiti on shop, red zone High St

30.03.13. Remains of red zone, abandoned Hanafins, cnr High St / Hereford St

Hereford St: We wandered past several abandoned bldgs, including Avonmore Tertiary Institute, to the cordon fence. In Man's Bakery & Cafe, furniture was still jumbled by the 22.02.11 quake over 2 years ago. Dry buns lay in glass cabinets on the bakery counter. A cup of unfinished coffee was on a table. Another table had a paper cup on top. White plates were smashed on the floor. Dust was so thick on the bakery window it blurred pics, so I wiped dust away with my palm.

Images, quake damaged Hereford St:

30.03.13. Eastern view of recently opened, red zone Hereford St. All bldgs were quake closed for 2 years, so far

30.03.13. Quake closed, Man's Bakery & Cafe, Hereford St red zone


30.03.13. Western view of recently opened red zone Hereford St. Stook sculpture left, Central Police high rise beyond, recently opened Ibis Hotel right. Most red zone bldgs were quake closed for 2 years. so far. Central Police was imploded 30.05.15

30.03.13. Avonmore Tertiary Institute due for post quake opening, Hereford St red zone

We looked through the fence cordon at abandoned PEETO bldg. Pre quakes, an expat friend had taught ESOL to foreign students there. Down Hereford St we passed abandoned Asian restaurants with fading USAR / TF graffiti on windows.

30.03.13. Eastern view of red zone, abandoned bldgs, Hereford St

30.03.13. Abandoned PEETO, red zone Hereford St

30.03.13. USAR / TF graffiti on abandoned shop, red zone Hereford St

30.03.13. Fence cordoned, abandoned shop, red zone, Hereford St

We wandered through Restart Cashel Mall to see a Baby Austen parked outside tourist trap, Quake City, Baby Austen rides pricey. In Quake City foyer a clock culled from a ruin was stopped at 12:51, time the 22.02.11 quake hit. The contrast between cleaned up Quake City bldg & grey, dusty red zone bldgs was startling. A Quake City side wall was repainted with garish patterns & colours, so-called street art copying ugly tagging.

Images, Restart Cashel Mall:

30.03.13. Quake City & Baby Austen, Restart Cashel Mall. Note 12:51 stopped clock, time when the 22.02.11 quake hit

30.03.13. Demolition site & repainted wall, Quake City, Restart Cashel Mall

I drove along bumpy Ferry Rd, over temporary Ferrymead Bridge. The main Ferrymead Bridge was a demolition in progress with 2 temporary side bridges, before rebuild.

Post 11 000 quakes, McCormacks Bay causeway was still a bumpy mess. I drove to Sumner beach, as we wanted to see a stranded yacht, which had washed up days ago near quake stunted Shag Rock. We wandered along Sumner beach below Clifton with abandoned, quake trashed houses on the cliff top & a double row of shipping containers below, protecting Peacocks Gallop traffic from cliff fall.

Images, quake damaged Peacocks Gallop:

30.03.13. Sumner beach view of quake ruined, cliff top housing, Clifton. Shipping containers below, protecting Peacocks Gallop traffic from rock fall

The wrecked yacht lay on its side, the fire-blackened cabin with melted plastic roof by the door hole. Porthole glass was shattered. A rusty anchor chain hung in low tide water, anchor gone. From outside the yacht, we could still smell the charred cabin interior.

30.03.13. Fire damaged, stranded yacht, washed up on Sumner Beach

Two years, 7 months post 04.09.10 quake & more than 2 years post 22.02.11 quake, Christchurch was still ruined & wrecked. Little rebuilt so far, despite Brownlee's rebuild spin.

Tues-Wed 02-03.04.13 One News: 270 red zone residents didn't take up CERA's / NZ govt's offer. It was their choice to live in quake crapped housing with no road repairs, no rubbish removal, no water, sewage & electricity services & still pay mortgages & rates on post quake, uninsurable, unsellable residential properties.

By the final deadline for red zoners, about 98%, 6 612 red zoners did accept CERA's / NZ's govt offers. They took insurers' / taxpayers' money & ran, to restart their lives elsewhere.

Never mind that One News figures of 6 612 + 270 didn't reconcile with CERA's Dec 2012 figure of 7 860 red zone, residential properties (Greater Christchurch Recovery Update, Issue 16, Dec 2012). Slack One News reporting, or CERA's lies, damned lies & statistics?

Problem with CERA's / NZ's govt red zone offers was that NZ govt / CERA had red zoned land, making it uninhabitable by govt decree & interfered with the post quake housing market, by not allowing red zoners to only negotiate with insurers. Thus using red zoners' insurance & taxpayers' monies, NZ govt / CERA had land-grabbed 6 612 red zone properties. So far NZ govt / CERA hadn't said what it would do with the 6 612 properties.

Like ourselves, not all Christchurch residents owned residential property. We paid rents & our landlords benefitted by tenants paying their mortgages, insurances, rates & property maintenance via our rents. Over many years as Christchurch residents, we'd paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in rents, never earning enough to save for residential property ownership, as Christchurch wages / salaries were low. Renters endured quakes just like whinging red zoners did.  

It looked like 2011-2012 public protests I'd attended were red zone whingers' hot air. Some Brooklands red zoners, who'd protested long & loud at public protests, took NZ govt's / CERA's red zone offer & ran. At 2012 protests, I saw that most red zoners were spoilt, welfare state, baby boomers, who'd bought their red zoned properties when houses were cheaper & mortgages were lower. They'd also had free tertiary education.

The Press 04.04.13. Christchurch Cathedral saga continued, when the Anglican diocese released 3 designs for a new Cathedral, for public consultation:

1. Slow, expensive, quake unsafe, Gothic Revival restoration.
2. Slow, expensive, quake safe, Gothic Revival rebuild.
3. Quick, cheap, quake safe, modern rebuild.

Option 3 was a no brainer. Yet spoilt male protesters like the Wizard, Anderton & Belton wanted to restore dangerously quake trashed Christchurch Cathedral. The Press aided & abetted their delusions by publishing distance pics of Christchurch Cathedral which didn't show close up damage. No way could aerial pics show close up damage to masonry. Interior damage to Christchurch Cathedral was anyone's guess, as ruined Christchurch Cathedral stayed fence cordoned for years.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Red zoners who rejected offers still in limbo (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Final Cathedral design options unveiled (The Press / Stuff Co).

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