Thursday, November 7, 2013

"On The Street Where You Live," Fluffy Fendalton Ladies & Port Hills Slippery Slopes

Fri 08.11.13. On The Street Where You Live. That My Fair Lady lyric was my theme song while wandering quake broken Christchurch.

In early 1990, I co-directed My Fair Lady (Shaw, Lerner, Loewe) a Selborne College production at East London's Guild Theatre with Neil Malherbe, Ginny Theunissen as choreographer & music director Lloy Brent. Going deaf, it was the last musical I heard. I later directed Murder at the Vicarage (1991) & Charleys Aunt (1993) for Selborne College at East London's Guild Theatre. I couldn't hear them properly, but they were good shows, my swan songs.

In Christchurch, Leah teased that I tortured the lyric while singing, so I whistled it on my quake walks. Of course I held the haunting lyric in my head, no matter how deaf I was:

I have often walked down this street before
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before  
All at once am I several storeys high
Knowing I'm on the street where you live...

Not so in quake trashed Christchurch. More than 3 years post 04.09.10 quake, pavements were dire & road surfaces worse, with all the SCIRT excavations & patchings.

Post quake Christchurch was like Eliza Doolittle, scruffy but still beautiful, before transformation by Henry Higgins, in the form of CERA minister Brownlee. Whether irascible Brownlee would succeed in transforming Eliza remained to be seen. With new mayor Dalziel causing Council sparks to fly, I expected Brownlee would soon be singing, Why can't a woman be more like a man?...

Fendalton fluffy ladies amused me on my morning wanderings from Hagley Park North, back to Burnside. Some walked their dogs, some jogged, some pushed prams. Fendalton fluffy ladies' hair styles matched their poodles', terriers', other dogs' fur styles, with teased hair & bottle blond hair. There was the Fendalton fluffy lady with red hair, jogging with her red haired spaniel. There was the grouchy old lady with scowl, full poop bag in one hand & fluffy terrier leashed to the other.

There was the Fendalton fluffy lady who cycled beside the railway track with her 2 fluffy dogs in the carrier basket on the front of her bike. There were Fendalton fluffy ladies walking with aluminium ski poles. There were Fendalton fluffy ladies who accompanied their kids to school on scooters, scooting home along quake lumpy pavements after dropping off their kids.

There were jewelled, Fendalton fluffy 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. Brownlee would've started a riot if CERA ever red zoned Fendalton.

Images, quake damaged 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, a 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.

I have often walked down this street before...

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 reprised 1000s of times.

I have often walked down this street before...

Images, quake damaged 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

Having lived 30+ years in my home town Durban, Christchurch was my next lengthiest stay - 18 years so far... Pre quakes, I saw lively riverside roads along Heathcote River & Avon River. Pre quakes Jake 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 have 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 subsequent quakes.

Pre quake roads by Avon River were fully housed & bubbling with life, post quakes they were abandoned, red zoned, dusty demolition sites. Those roads haunted me & drew me back to see their degradations over the last 3 years. 

I have often walked down this street before...

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 being the most dangerous slope, Class 3 being 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, waiting 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. Cockup. It was time Brownlee sorted out communications between Council & CERA.

Why was there so 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. Where was the RECOVERY in all that CERA?

Post quakes, I'd blogged some of the slippery slopes in the Port Hills: Sumner, Clifton, Redcliffs, Mount Pleasant, Heathcote Valley, Bowenvale Valley. Specific roads I looked at 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 they were too many for my 2 legs 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 returned often to see their degradations from pre quakes, lively residential areas to post quakes demolition sites, or house repairs, or house rebuilds, with broken roads.

I have often walked down this street before...


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 trotted out his humble apology routine he'd frequently trotted out over the last quake years.

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 govt departments & Council. A mess! Why did 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.

I have often walked down this street before...

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 govt had red zoned about 8 000 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. All that ghastly farrago so NZ govt could profit from a massive land grab of about 8 000 red zoned residential properties. 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 8 000 red zoned houses lost by quakes & govt decree, Brownlee went golem effect by wanting to degrade 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 agreed, reprising: Lots of chocolates for me to eat... Oh wouldn't it be luverlee... That odd couple would go down in history as perpetrators of post quake slums, if their high density degradations hever appened.

In March 2015, Dalziel sung Mandarin love songs while wooing Chinese investors in China.

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 would roll in luverlee lolly from a bigger rates base. Dabbling in Brownlee's cesspool, Dalziel made Parker & Marryatt look like saints.

Where would Dalziel & Brownlee put ghetto cars needing garaging & parking per hectare? Oh wouldn't it be luverlee to see Dalziel & Brownlee being the first to buy a battery chicken cage for their families to enjoy in their rebuilt utopia. 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 ghettos?

In 1981, Leah & I did our OE from SA in London, where we lived periodically at George House, Courtfield Gdns, in bed-sits rebuilt into a grand, old, 4 storey Victorian house. Expensive, slum living off Cromwell Rd & close to Gloucester Rd & Earls Court tube stations. We paid 70-80 pounds rent / week depending on high or low tourist seasons. That kind of high density, slum living was what Brownlee & Dalziel proposed for high density Christchurch.

London's high density living was dirty. The novelty of high density living soon wore off with thin walls & drunken Irishmen knocking on our door 24/7 demanding "Ave yer godda loit?" A mad neighbour, Geordie woman jabbered to herself all night. Fornicating neighbours screamed into the night. There were drugs, booze & fights galore...

In 1982 Leah & I returned to SA & made lots of money buying & selling quarter acre properties & land in Natal & the Cape, which enabled us over 11 years to earn enough to emigrate to low wage, high cost NZ. Brownlee & Dalziel intended lowering living standards & housing standards in Christchurch with their high density slum proposals.

I have often walked down this street before...

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.

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

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, opposite 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.

Images, quake damaged 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

I have often walked down this street before...

As for the post quake housing crisis, Brownlee finally acknowledged it with the obfuscatory term "housing pinch."

27.11.13. Clifford Ave road works near Mona Vale

Images, quake damaged Fendalton Rd:

27.11.13. Quake damaged gates, 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 govt half baked offers on uninsured red zone land & uninsured red zone housing could take NZ govt to court for a better offer. What a farce! And post 22.02.11 quake, PM Key said no one would be worse off.

The Crown in the form of CERA had conveniently 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 comment 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 Denser housing plan agreed (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).

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