Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fluffy Fendalton. Port Hills Slippery Slopes

Fri 08.11.13. In Christchurch more than 3 years post 04.09.10 quake, pavements were dire & road surfaces worse, with all the SCIRT excavations & patchings. Although shaken & shocked, post quake Christchurch was still beautiful, despite transformation by CERA minister Brownlee. With new mayor Dalziel causing Council sparks to fly, Brownlee would soon kowtow

Fluffy Fendalton ladies amused me on my morning wanderings from Hagley Park North, back to Burnside. Some walked their dogs, some jogged, some pushed prams. Fendalton ladies' hair matched their dogs' fur - teased hair, bottle blond hair...

There was a Fendalton lady with red hair, jogging with her red haired spaniel. There was an old lady with full poop bag in one hand & fluffy terrier leashed to the other. There was a lady who cycled beside the railway track with her 2 fluffy dogs in the carrier basket in front. There Fendalton ladies walking with aluminium ski poles. There were ladies accompanying their kids to school on scooters, scooting home along quake lumpy pavements after dropping off their kids.

There were jewelled ladies in parked cars, chatting by posh houses, many needing quake repairs. There was lots of quake damage in Fendalton, near streams & hidden behind vegetation & high walls. Fendalton ladies would've rioted if Brownlee's CERA had ever red zoned Fendalton.

10 images, Wairarapa Tce:

01.11.13. Quake trashed house awaiting demolition, Wairarapa Tce

I wandered past demolition sites, construction sites & repair sites. Over the last week, I'd watched a quake trashed house entirely demolished on Wairarapa Tce: Monday - house quarter demolished; Tuesday - half demolished; Thursday - house gone, a pile of rubble, an orange digger on top; Friday - an empty demolition site, the digger smoothing soil on site. The pavement was covered by 2 strong steel slabs, allowing excavator machines to cross over.

01.11.13. Quake trashed house awaiting demolition, Wairarapa Tce

Thursday 5 - Tuesday 10 December. Another house demolition, Garden Rd: Thursday, workmen were ripping out vegetation in the garden. By Monday the house was demolished, a heap of rubble, a navy blue sofa on top. Tuesday, a sandy, demolition site & a pavement cordon fence. It took less than a week to completely demolish a house on a quarter acre property. Over the last 3 years that had happened 1000s of times.

7 images, Garden Rd:

10.12.13. Post quake, house demolition site, Garden Rd

10.12.13. Post quake foundation repair, Garden Rd

10.12.13. Post quake, house rebuild, Garden Rd

Pre quakes, I'd seen lively riverside roads along Heathcote River & Avon River. Pre quakes Jake had lived on Avonside Dr, on Avon Loop. Post quakes Jake & Luke now flatted together in a double storey house on Ashgrove Tce by Heathcote River.

Pre quakes & post quakes, I often walked down Avon River streets - Avonside Dr, River Rd, Dallington Tce, Locksley Ave, New Brighton Rd, Bexley Rd, Waitaki St. The last 2 streets were the first streets Leah & I saw completely flooded in the 04.09.10 quake. They were trashed by later quakes.

Pre quake roads by Avon River were fully housed & lively. Post quakes, they were abandoned, red zoned, dusty demolition sites. Those roads haunted me & had lured me back over the last 3 years. They weren't the only roads haunting me. 

Big news this week was a discrepancy between CERA's Port Hills land zonings & a Council geotech report (Institute of Geological & Nuclear Science) which Council had sat on since August, showing discrepancies between CERA's zonings & the Council report on dangers of slippery slopes in the Port Hills. Slippery slope dangers in the Council report were Classed 1 to 3, Class 1, the most dangerous slope, Class 3, the least dangerous slope.

The Council geotech report used the term "mass movement," meaning rock falls, cliff collapses, slippery slopes, land slips. In reality the Port Hills were riddled with cracks, ready to subside in a big quake. Aerial photos showed how stupid previous Councils were developing housing on top of Port Hills, on Port Hills slopes & below Port Hills slopes.

CERA boss Sutton had wittered for months, delaying CERA zonings in the Port Hills, as CERA awaited a Port Hills rolling rocks study by Milan University. A waste of time & money, while Council did a similar geotech study. There was no cohesion between former mayor Parker's Council & CERA. While Parker's minions red stickered Port Hills houses, CERA's lackeys green zoned the same housing. Why didn't Brownlee sort out communications between Council & CERA?

There was too much duplication between CERA & Council. Another glitch was CERA's Insurer Advisory Service vs Council's Advocacy Service. CERA expected Council to use ratepayers' money to part pay for CERA's Advisory Service, which was really just an EQC / insurer protection racket. So much for CERA recovery.

Specific roads I'd seen were mentioned in the Council report: Clifton Tce - Clifton; Cliff St - Moncks Bay; Defender Ln, Glendevere Tce - Redcliffs; Bridle Path Rd - Heathcote Valley; Alderston Ave, Lucas Ln, Aynseley Tce - Hillsborough; Bowenvale Ave - Bowenvale Valley. There were many more slippery slope roads investigated by the Council report, but too many for me to wander.

Slippery slopes I'd blogged post quakes: Scarborough, Sumner, Clifton & Redcliffs - houses on top of rock cliffs & below rock cliffs or bluffs & on slippery slopes. Moncks Bay - houses on top of & below rock cliffs & on loess & rocky slopes. Mt Pleasant, Heathcote Valley & Bowenvale Valley - houses on slippery slopes. Hillsborough - houses on loess slopes & below loess cliffs & rocky bluffs. Lyttelton - houses on slippery, rocky slopes. Never mind streams flowing in several of the above areas, aggravating unstable ground.

Port Hills roads haunted me too & I often returned to see their degradations from pre quakes, lively residential areas to post quakes demolition sites, or house repairs, or house rebuilds, with broken roads.


1. A recent High Court ruling that CERA's residential red zoning was unlawful. CERA was appealing the ruling, causing massive delays in final residential zoning decisions. Some Port Hills property owners had waited over 2 years for a CERA zoning. Those home owners were in limbo. Brownlee expediently apologised.

2. This week's Council geotech report, some of which didn't match CERA's green & red zonings. i.e. Some of CERA's green zoned Port Hills residential properties were Class 1 in Council's report - lethal. A shambles!

3. Insurers used CERA vs Council conflicts regarding residential zonings / classes as excuses to delay settlements, or house repairs, or house rebuilds. Aggravating CERA versus Council conflicts, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment only recently sorted out new, post quake, strengthened foundation specifications. Once again, home owners of quake broken homes were piggies in the middle between NZ National govt departments & Council. Why did NZ National govt take so long sorting out foundation specifications? Post quake houses had already been rebuilt with crap foundations.

4. Stonewalling, time wasting, secretiveness & lack of transparency from Council, CERA & EQC. Property owners resorted to public protests, court actions, email leaks released by bloggers, media reports, ombudsman complaints, state services commissioner reports, Official Information Act (OIA) requests to EQC before they could get any sense out of authorities responsible for quake RECOVERY.

Monday 18.11.13, 11.36 pm, 4.6 mag quake, 8 km depth, 10 km SW of Christchurch (GeoNet) in the "Gap" between Halswell & Prebbleton. Leah & I didn't feel it as we were in our car, driving on Barrington St near the Port Hills.

Thurs 21.11.13 The Press front page headline: HOUSING CHANGES TO RAISE DENSITY

CERA vs Council farce continued: More than a year post 22.02.11 quake, in June last year, when quake displaced people were sleeping in garages, cars, caravans & on the beach, CERA minister Brownlee said there was no housing crisis & that the market would sort things out. Jake was 22.02.11 quake flooded out of his Waltham Rd flat & over-wintered with his girlfriend in a liquefactioned garage off Cranford St.

Meanwhile NZ National govt had red zoned about 7 000+ houses, expecting them to be abandoned by owners who had to find housing elsewhere. Not a cheep from former town clerk Marryatt's & former mayor Parker's Council about that travesty. A massive land grab by NZ National govt. So far, CERA had demolished 3 500 red zone houses, 4 500 still to go. (29.11.13 The Press / Stuff Co).

Without actually replacing the 7 000+ red zoned houses lost by quakes & NZ National govt decree, Brownlee suggested changing big, old houses into flats; degrade granny flats & Councils' pensioners' cottages into flats for young people; degrade quarter acre properties into high density townhouses. And new mayor Dalziel actually agreed! That odd couple would go down in history as perpetrators of post quake slums, if their high density rebuilds ever happened.

In March 2015, Dalziel would sing Mandarin love songs, wooing Chinese investors in China. She had joined other Chinese wooers, PM Key & former PM Shipley.

Thus Dalziel & Brownlee wanted to make ghettos, stuffing 30 to 65 dwellings per hectare without improvements in infrastructure, public transport, nor roads. (The Press 29.11.13). Dalziel's Council would roll in lolly from a bigger rates base. Dalziel made Parker & Marryatt look like saints. Where would Dalziel & Brownlee put garaging & parking per hectare? Considering the MOE's 2012 botch up with closures & mergers of Christchurch schools, did Brownlee & Dalziel consult Parata's MOE regarding new schools for their new ghettos?

Wed 27.11.13. In the mornings, after Leah dropped me off at N Hagley Park on her way to work, I exercised on the outdoor gym machines by the golf club. Thereafter I set off on my walks back to Burnside. Over the last week I'd watched "Christmas In The Park" Xmas tree, stage & equipment being set up for the annual festival.

1 image, Hagley Park North:

27.11.13. Christmas In The Park, Xmas tree & stage, Hagley Park N

On my daily walks from Hagley Park North through Fendalton to Burnside I saw lots of FOR SALE signs on residential properties - land for sale, houses for sale, with or without EQC repairs, as is where is... There were also abandoned houses still waiting for EQC & insurers to wake up & do repairs, thus ensuring that the rental market was still in crisis, as former inhabitants of abandoned housing had to live somewhere. All those Fendalton FOR SALE signs meant home owners were cashing in.

Over the last couple of rainy days, I'd watched diggers digging a new foundation hole on a Fendalton house demolition site, Clifford Ave, between the railway & Wairarapa Stream, opp Mona Vale. The soil horizon was about half a metre silt above yellow clay, same soil horizon as our Burnside rental. Given daily railway rumblings & future liquefactions, as the house would be built on riverine jelly, I expected the new house to be doomed by the next big quake, despite deeper foundations of compacted shingle & a thicker concrete foundation slab floating on liquefaction mud.

13 images, Clifford Ave:

27.11.13. Rebuild foundation hole, cnr Fendalton Rd / Clifford Ave

A neighbouring double storey house was quake trashed & abandoned. Another was an overgrown demolition site with stone gate posts left by the road & abandoned swimming pool on Wairarapa Stream bank.

27.11.13. Quake abandoned house by Wairarapa Stream, Clifford Ave

27.11.13. Quake abandoned pool by Wairarapa Stream, Clifford Ave

27.11.13. Quake damaged house by Wairarapa Stream, Clifford Ave

As for the post quake housing crisis, Brownlee now bulshitted about a "housing pinch."

27.11.13. Orange, plastic, road cone detour. Clifford Ave road works opp Mona Vale

2 images, Fendalton Rd:

27.11.13. Quake damaged gates, Fendalton Rd

*Wandered Wairarapa Tce, Garden Rd, N Hagley Park, Clifford Ave, Fendalton Rd.

Wed 03.12.13. OneNews reported that the Appeal Court overturned the High Court's ruling that red zoning was unlawful. The red zone was lawful again, so Brownlee could go ahead with CERA's Port Hills zoning review.

But the Appeal Court ruled that CERA's offering uninsured, red zone vacant land & uninsured red zone housing half 2007 govt valuation was unlawful, so Brownlee's CERA had to review offers on uninsured red zone land / housing. A legal precedent was set, so those who had NZ National govt's half baked offers on uninsured red zone land & uninsured red zone housing could take NZ National govt to court for a better offer. What a farce! And post 22.02.11 quake, PM Key had said no one would be worse off.

The Crown in the form of CERA had decreed red zones & grabbed red zoners' land under quake duress offers & had threatened to cut off services & had threatened compulsory acquisition of red zone land should red zoners not depart. CERA boss Sutton's callous remark about uninsurable red zone land & uninsurable red zone housing pertained: "Here's the offer. Have a nice day!"

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Port Hills deadline extended (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Unlikely consents processed (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Detailed maps Port Hills movement (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Nightmare delay for new rules (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Mayor queries value of EQC advisory service (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Dying man in EQC battle (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Severe housing stress forecast (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Brownlee slams council housing failure (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Housing pinch to worsen until 2017 (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christchurch city takes shape: goodbye red zone (The Press / Stuff Co).

See joint approach to increase residential red zone clearances (CERA media release 28 November 2013).

See Ruling over unlawful buyouts upheld (The Press / Stuff Co).

See 270 Port Hills homes rezoned (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel impresses with Mandarin love songs (The Press / Stuff Co).