Monday, February 15, 2016

Earth Surfing, Valentines Day Quake

Sun 14.02.16, Christchurch. 5.7 mag quake, depth 15 km, 15 km E of Christchurch, 1.13 pm (GeoNet). Resurrection of the Pegasus Bay Fault which had been quiet since the 23.12.11 quake swarm.

Leah & I were in Timaru at the time, 162 km S of Christchurch, having lunch at a Pak n Save cafe. Leah felt the quake. I didn't. She was right. On our return to Fairlie we checked out GeoNet & texted our sons who text replied as follows:

Luke, Berwick St rental: "Big! Biggest one I've felt in a very long time. Very jolty, rolled on for quite a while. Lots of aftershocks since." Luke had done quake salvage work the last couple of years, dangerous work in an active quake zone.

Jake, Cassels Brewery, Garlands Rd: "I'm totally fine. House etc & friends all good. No worries:) When the quake hit it just so happened that all of us 6 chefs were congregated all in the same area of the kitchen when stuff got a bit wobbly. I instinctively took my earth surfing stance & had my 23 cm knife pointing outwards from me, gripped in my right hand:) Luckily no one else was standing too close to me. Ha Ha."

Jakes "earth surfing" was apt, if one wasn't diving for cover, or rushing for a door frame, for protection. As seismic waves rolled underfoot, with bent knees & arms akimbo, it was like a wave battering. I'd once described to an Oamaru friend that surviving a big quake was like being bashed at the bottom of rugby scrum, or being dumped by a huge wave. Absolutely no control.

I updated my Facebook status letting family & friend know we were all OK. Several Like responses & compassionate comments from family & friends. No troll comments.

Over the next few days, TV1 & The Press reported there were no fatalities, but there were rock falls at Godley Head, Whitewash Head, Sumner's Richmond Hill & Peacocks Gallop. There were reports of liquefaction at Kairaki Beach & Parklands roads were liquefactioned again, with sink holes & sewage leaks: Bower Ave, Broadhaven Ave, Courtfield Cl, Hurst Pl, Linkwater Way. I'd seen those Parkland roads badly liquefactioned post 23.12.11 quake swarm.

Christ Church Cathedral's west facade crumbled more, despite the so-called, steel, "Battering Ram" buttressing the facade.

EQC was accepting claims for the Valentines Day Quake. Given EQC's ineptitude over the last 5 years with shoddy repairs, 1 000s of repairs & claims still unresolved & insurers still waiting for EQC to decide on over cap $100 000 properties for previous quakes, some Valentines Day quake claimants could wait another 5 years for their claims to be resolved by EQC & insurers.

Sun 21.02.16. A Cathedral Sq protest protested about EQC & insurer delays in resolving claims. Deja vu the 08.08.12 protest I'd attended at Clarence St & Princess St, protesting EQC & insurer delays. The revolting thing about the latest protest was that 5 years post 22.02.11 quake, 4 500 repair / rebuild claims were still unresolved & 5 500 repairs on EQC / Fletcher shoddy repairs claims were unresolved. What were PM Key, CERA minister Brownlee, CERA minions, Human Rights Commissioner & others slagging off Cantabrians doing about EQC's & insurers' slackness?

Sat-Sun 27-28.02.16. Was in Christchurch for Leah's teaching business & to visit our sons. On Sat I wandered Christchurch's CBD. Lots of rebuild, Cashel Mall: The Terrace, with new steps on Avon River bank; BNZ; ANZ; a huge parking garage behind The Crossing on Lichfield St; Justice & Emergency Services Precinct going up, between Lichfield St & Tuam St. All those new bldgs had sturdy steel frames. Quake survivor Pagoda House, Colombo St was dwarfed by BNZ & ANZ. Rebuilds darkened Cashel Mall again, forming a W-E wind funnel from Bridge of Remembrance.

Not Funny: 5 bldgs red sticker cordoned (27.02.16) by Council on New Regent St, as dangerous after 5 years of quakes. Council only woke up to the danger after the Valentines Day quake. Par for the Council, like Council libraries closed for repairs long after quakes - South Library, Fendalton Library, Bishopdale Library...

Christ Church Cathedral ruin: Still fenced cordoned after 5 years of neglect. Cracks had widened on all exterior walls. Many loose Oamaru whitestones, cladded corners, buttresses, window arches. Heritage fanatics wanted to restore the rubble walled ruin. I wandered ruined Christ Church Cathedral border, coolpixing weedy neglect, widened cracks, loose stones & protest slogans, chalked on flagstones, curbs & boards on abandoned Millennium Hotel (Distinction Hotel). Next door, abandoned BNZ part demolition was covered in graffiti. (Sept 2018. BNZ had been completely demolished & a new Spark bldg, busy construction site with steel frame was going up.) What a mess CERA had left Cathedral Sq after its 5 year occupation.

Cathedral Sq, chalked protest slogans:

JACK + PACK [Shoddy jack & pack, foundation repairs by Fletchers contractors].

VULNERABLE [To flooding & liquefaction according to EQC assessments].

         CLOWNS [Fletchers, Crown company did shoddy post quake repairs to 1 000s of houses].

THE FLAG OR THE PEOPLE [PM Key's $26m flag referendum].







STILL WAITING [Tower, a Crown insurance company delayed many payouts].




Fun things: Margaret Mahy Family Playground, many kids enjoying themselves. Parents lolling below poplars on Avon River bank. No shade over the playground, yet.

Oxford Tce: 5 years post quakes, below abandoned Rydges Hotel, Our City, abandoned, scaffolded, fence cordoned. Ditto quake trashed Provincial Council bldgs on opp Avon River Bank.

Cnr Hereford St / Cambridge Tce: New car park garage going up on Central Police implosion site.

Durham St Nth: Glass & steel, office block rebuilds loomed above quake trashed, Provincial Council bldg.

NZ National govt's Blueprint Convention Centre: 5 years post quakes, no rebuild yet. Just a vast, cordon fenced, dusty demolition site between Victoria Sq / Cathedral Sq & Colombo St / Oxford Tce. (Sept 2018. Convention Centre steel frame going up).

After 3 years' cordon closure, Gloucester St Bridge was being restored by SCIRT. I wrote in a SCIRT suggestion booklet, hung on a cordon fence: 5 YEARS! TOO SLOW!

Cnr Durham St Nth / Kilmore St: Gap Filler activities, like food trailers, Commons sports, dancing, band playing, by the Wooden Arches on Crowne Plaza Hotel demolition site near Town Hall restoration. At Last!

Year of the Monkey, Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Hagley Park. 1 000s of viewers. CERA's last year of Christchurch occupation. CERA had morphed into a troupe of Regeneration Christchurch monkeys, organ grinded by National MPs Key & Brownlee. Another 5 years!

Mon 29.02.16. Leap Year Day quake, 3.32 am, 4.3 mag, 5 km depth, 5 km S of Christchurch. (GeoNet). Port Hills fault again. We'd returned to Fairlie. But our sons awoke to strong jolts. There were so many known & unknown, crustal faults in & around Christchurch, when one ruptured, another soon ruptured, different faults rupturing for the Valentines Day & Leap Year Day aftershocks. Cracks on the ancient Port Hills volcano still flexed.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Submarine faulting beneath Pegasus Bay (NIWA).

See EQC has about 5500 shoddily repaired homes to fix (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christchurch quake Still waiting for repairs 5 years on (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Hundreds protest outstanding EQC & insurance claims in Cathedral Square (The Press / Stuff Co).

See PM John Key's opinion of Christchurch's recovery (The Press / Stuff Co).

See A city of two halves new quake reignites old battles (The Press / Stuff Co).

See New Regent St owner agrees to engineering inspections (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Quake claimant to fellow IAG customers clog the system (The Press / Stuff Co).

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