Monday, April 8, 2013

Post Quakes, Botanic Gardens New Visitors Centre & Antigua Watermark

Tues 09.04.13. Post quakes was a misnomer, as 2.5 years post 04.09.10 quake, Christchurch still experienced quakes - a couple of 2 mags recently & a 3 mags two weeks ago. Felt like distant rumbling traffic, if felt at all.

I wandered through Christchurch Botanic Gardens & by the rooted out Herb Garden & Christ's College back wall, a fence had information boards & perspex windows revealing the New Visitors Centre construction site. An information board pictured a glassy structure for visitors & offices for Botanic Gardens staff.

Images, quake damaged Christchurch Botanic Gardens:



09.04.13. Construction site, Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre




I liked the planned Gondwanaland Garden, as the botanist in me noticed many similarities between SA-NZ plants. Example - SA yellowwood tree & NZ totara tree had similar wood & small spiky leaves. Years ago, my yellowwood dining room table & chairs & writing desk were made to order in Pinetown. We'd owned a house in Yellowwood Park, Durban, for 6 years & I'd taught at Yellowwood Park PS for one term, 1978.

There were many other SA flora cheering up Christchurch during quake times: agapanthus, proteas, leucodendrons, ericas, Namaqualand daisies, arum lilies, fire lilies, kaffir lilies, clivias, gerberas, geraniums, kniphofias, bone seed...

Tourism was picking up, as a gaggle of camera toting Jap tourists blocked the Rolleston Ave gate by Canterbury Museum. Tourists buses were parked on Rolleston Ave, like pre quakes congestion.

Images, quake damaged Avon River:


09.04.13. WATERMARK construction site, Avon River, Cambridge Tce













09.04.13. Antigua Boat Sheds, 1882, Avon River, Cambridge Tce

 

By Antigua Boat Sheds, Cambridge Tce, I wondered what Council was playing at with 2 diggers lifting large concrete blocks from Avon River & wads of workmen in orange, Hi Viz vests standing around behind a cordon fence. Information boards on the fence read:

WATERMARK
Te Papa Otakaro / Avon River Precinct

Watermark is the first section of the Te Papa Otakaro / Avon River Precinct to be
designed and constructed. The site will span the river's true left bank between
Antigua Boat Sheds and Montreal Street. This project will provide an opportunity for
community feedback. This will inform the design of the rest of the project. The next
section of the project will start construction from November 2013.

Stemming from over 100 000 community suggestions received via the Share an Idea
campaign, Watermark will aim to deliver the people's aspirations for a 'Green City'
and align with the design principles of the Te Papa Otakaro / Avon River Precinct:

* Promoting a healthy river
* A fully accessible environment
* An integrated cultural narrative
* Good economic potential.

The construction of "Watermark" involves:

* a slight narrowing of the river and installation of features to promote and encourage river life;
* some re-contouring to provide improved pedestrian walkways and seating areas;
* hard and soft landscaping;
* new street furniture;
* boardwalks;
* pruning of large trees to improve the canopy (no large trees will be removed).


It was part of Council's Share an Idea scheme taken over by CCDU to improve Avon River banks post quakes. The idea was to have a City in a Garden. The reality was a City in a Swamp. That section of Avon River bank needed no improvement. I could think of many bits of Avon River banks, downriver in eastern suburbs needing more attention from Council, City Care & CERA.

All the diggers did was mess the left bank by uprooting riverside benches & gouging track marks into left bank mud. Next to Antigua Boat Sheds, never mind Antigua St Footbridge needing fixing, fence cordon closed since the 22.02.11 quake. A long quake crack disfigured the south concrete abutment. A GRAND TOUR bus was parked by the WATERMARK site, no sign of tourists.



09.04.13. Quake closed Antigua St Footbridge, Avon River, Cambridge Tce




While Council wasted money on cosmetic changes to Avon River left bank by Antigua Boat Sheds, essential repairs to several down river bridges were needed. Never mind Third World ruins of eastern suburb roads. Beachville Rd concrete sea wall, by Avon / Heathcote Estuary, was in dire need of repairs, as it was slumped, cracked & tilted its entire 500 m length. (The sea wall was repaired in 2015-16).

Meanwhile Antigua Boat Sheds advert boards continued touting Edwardian PUNTING ON THE AVON for tourists. Although CERA had demolished many Edwardian & Victorian bldgs in the CBD, antagonizing heritage fanatics, it still touted a punting past, obliterated by quakes. CCDU / CERA muppets hadn't a cultural clue.

Sat 13.04.13. EQC Truths blog post "Unsafe Electrical Wiring" reported that EQC was using unregistered electricians to fix quake damaged housing, when registered electricians should be used. That left electrical wiring in housing fixed by EQC a fire hazard, due to bad electrical wiring by incompetent electricians.

It was time a Royal Commission of Inquiry was held to investigate inept EQC, as EQC was destroying lives & values of Canterbury properties with its inept Fletchers repairs monopoly & employing unqualified, inept assessors & inept electricians.

Sun 14.04.13. EQC Truths blog referred to The Press article "EQC staff failed to declare $25m contract conflict" regarding EQC's shonky business practices.

Mon 15.04.13. TV3 Campbell Live: EQC boss Simpson said that EQC had worked on sending claimants' information to claimants at the end of 2012, but EQC Truths leak had delayed EQC sending the information due to email shutdown at EQC. Simpson said EQC would release claimants' information, like EQC repairs estimates to claimants with already repaired housing, within 3 months. But non repaired housing estimates wouldn't be released, as the information was commercially sensitive. Laughable the information was commercially sensitive, as Fletchers (part govt owned) had a monopoly on repairs, without tender competition from other contractors.

Simpson's excuse that EQC Truths blog was delaying information being sent to claimants was risible, as the leak was 2.5 years post 04.09.10 quake. Simpson had more than 2 year to reveal EQC assessment & estimate information to claimants. Simpson was one of a long line of bureaucratic blame-shifters revealed in the recent Royal Commission of Inquiry into quake bldg collapses & the Coroner's Inquest into quake deaths. 

Wed 17.04.13. The Press reported on a widow (husband died in 22.02.11 quake) who waited for procrastinating EQC or State insurer to decide whether to repair or rebuild her quake trashed house. Repair or rebuild?... What a disgrace. So much for quake recovery from EQC, State & CERA.

Content & pics Mark JS Esslemont.

See EQC staff failed to declare $25m contract conflict (The Press / Stuff Co). 

See EQC to release claim info soon (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Priority case widow still waiting (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Leaked document explains EQC delays (The Press / Stuff Co).

See  EQCs bid to stop email becoming costly (The Press Stuff Co).


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