Although we'd lived in Mackenzie Country, Lake Tekapo & Fairlie for over a year, we regularly returned to Christchurch for Leah's professional matters & for us to visit our sons. I kept up with post quake Christchurch by following the news & visiting Christchurch suburbs.
Saturday 28.02.15. While Leah lectured teachers in Ashburton, I drove to Christchurch to see our sons. Luke showed me various residential red zone, demolition sites near Avon River, where he'd done salvage jobs - Kate Sheppard Rest Home, New Brighton & various house demolition sites in Bexley.
CERA had left New Brighton & Bexley red zone a mess with overgrown demolition sites & trashed roads. Demolition disaster upon quake disaster. South Brighton Bridge was finally repaired by SCIRT, but Pages Rd Bridge was still patch repaired, like New Brighton roads.
CERA wasn't saying what the Crown would do with approx 8 000 red zone, residential properties, mostly beside Avon River, which CERA had acquired from citizens under quake duress.
Saturday 28.03.15. While Leah attended a function at Seabrook Mackenzie Centre, London St, celebrating the first 10 years of Jean Seabrook Memorial School there (Leah taught there the first 9 years) I took a closer look at the residential red zone along Avon River where I'd taken 1 000s of pics during quake times. I drove the following red zone roads & environs, both sides of Avon River: Avonside Dr, Avon Loop where Jake had lived pre quakes; River Rd; Dallington Tce; Glenarm Tce, Locksley Ave, Kingsford St, Queensbury St, Avonside Dr...
Most of the houses & commercial bldgs in the red zone had been demolished by CERA. A few houses still to go. They were boarded, fence cordoned & danger taped, some with asbestos warning tapes.
Tress & shrubs had been left alone by CERA, but most of the red zone was overgrown, Some areas had been mown & some areas fenced off to give a parkland effect, but most of the residential red zone along Avon River was unfenced. The following white & black sign was attached to red zone fencing:
Like Pages Rd Bridge, Swanns Rd Bridge was just patch repaired & neglected by CERA / SCIRT, although good citizens of Christchurch were expected by CERA / SCIRT to still use those bridges. What a disgrace more than 4 years post 22.02.11 quake! SCIRT had repaired abutments at Stanmore Rd Bridge & Avondale Rd Bridge. There were detours along Dallington Tce & Avonside Dr, as Gayhurst Rd Bridge was being repaired by SCIRT.
All red zone roads were in appalling disrepair - huge pot holes, loose shingle & flooding in places where high tide, Avon River leaked under stop banks.
CERA had evolved new orange & black signs to stop people entering some red zone areas. The signs stood on some red zone roads with obstructing fencing across roads. The signs read:
VEHICLE ACCESS ONLY
0800 ring CERA
At Horseshoe Lake, I ignored a couple of those signs on Kingsford St, as I wanted to see the red zone at the end of the road, where I'd snapped pics post 13.06.11 quake. On the way I passed 2 NZDF jeeps & a Unimog parked on a side road.
At the end of Kingsford St, I was confronted by two camouflage-uniformed soldiers toting automatic rifles. I signalled a turnabout sign & drove off. Why was CERA still allowing war games in the red zone? (A couple of years ago cops had played cops & robbers at Horseshoe Lake red zone too). Deputy mayor Buck was in denial that Christchurch didn't look like a war zone.
By New Brighton Rd / Locksley Ave junction, a blue & white CERA sign by a red zone fence read:
CROWN OWNED LAND
CLEARANCE IN THE
RESIDENTIAL RED ZONE
Where possible we will keep significant planting. We are
aiming to create a safe and attractive area that is easy
to maintain until decisions are made about future land use.
Sunday 29.03.15. When we picked up firewood at Luke's salvage yard, Dyers Rd, a broken-down car was parked under gum trees by Bromley oxidation ponds. A black Staffordshire terrier was locked in the car. A note on the car window read:
Luke told us the car had been there a couple of days & an Irishman slept in it. He was a construction worker & had fallen on hard times during Christchurch rebuild. So much for CERA's rebuild! He was an eloquent man. Leah gave him food.
Before we left for Fairlie, Luke showed us rimu flooring & wooden arched windows salvaged from Isaac Theatre Royal, Gloucester St, after the theatre's makeover.
August 2015. CERA minister Brownlee was in denial again, this time about "Cowboy builders" doing shoddy repairs to quake trashed house foundations. The Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, MBIE had sampled some EQC / Fletchers repaired house foundations & found repairs were inadequate. The fact that EQC / Fletchers had overseen those house foundation repairs wasn't acknowledged by Brownlee.
Brownlee denied shoddy work done by EQC / Fletchers on his watch. Blame shifter Brownlee blamed "Cowboy builders" contracted by EQC / Fletchers & said they'd have to repair their bad house foundation repairs. Never mind shoddy repairs done above house foundations. Slack builders bleated they'd go bankrupt. Fletchers boss shifted blame to migrant Irish builders.
What a disaster! No one took responsibility for shoddy house repairs, like shoddy jack 'n pack of foundations, or cracked, painted-over gib boards, or epoxy-glued concrete seen all over Christchurch. It was the same blame shifting we'd witnessed at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into PGC & CTV bldg collapses, where owners, engineers, cops, firemen, Council shifted blame to others.
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.
See Tourism body Christchurch looks like a war zone (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Construction site look reflects rebirth Vicky Buck (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Bexley suburb returns to nature (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Army exercises upsets Christchurch red zoners (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Gerry Brownlee targets cowboy builders after EQC foundation review (The Press / Stuff Co).
See No responsibility on Fletcher EQR for shoddy quake repairs contract suggests (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Survey of Canterbury quake repairs caned by critics and advocates (The Press / Stuff Co).
See Building industry hits back at claims it is solely to blame for shoddy quake repairs (The Press / Stuff Co)
See Six out of seven IAG repairs found to be deficient in govt investigation (The Press / Stuff Co).