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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fletchers/EQR - update on residential repairs in Christchurch

Fletchers/EQR have placed a report on their site giving information on the work completed or underway since the February 22 earthquake.

The bit on page 2 of the report, covering winter heating, may be of use to those who still haven't had any action on getting their house heated for winter.

The report, in PDF format, is here.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

EQC - conflicting advice on land remediation excesses

On it's FAQ page here, EQC say:
What are the excesses for an EQC claim?
" ...  For land cover the excess is the greater of $500 multiplied by the number of residential buildings on the land or 10% of the amount EQC pays."
Quite clear and precise. Also wrong.

On page 9 of the EQC booklet householders' guide to EQCover, under the heading Excesses, is the following:
"Land. If your claim is for $5,000 or less, EQC will deduct an excess of $500 and pay the rest. If your claim is for more than $5,000, EQC will pay 90% of it, deducting an excess of 10%. However, the maximum excess EQC can deduct is $5,000."
This booklet is dated January 2008. According to the EQC website, as at this evening, it is still the current edition (download a copy here).

That last little bit makes a huge difference to both the financial and psychological challenge of contemplating how much excess and top-up monies will have to be found. I wonder how much else is not quite right in the FAQ?

An e-mail has been sent to EQC pointing out this discrepancy.

UPDATE - this has now been fixed. See the post here.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Avonside Drive - river bank and property problems

Geoff from Avonside Drive contacted me to say he and his neighbours are having problems with traffic along the first part of Avonside Drive. The state of the road is such that fast moving and heavy traffic are damaging the river bank, which is putting their properties at risk.

He has used the "have your say" part of the Council website to make a submission on the problem. The web page is: http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/have-your-say/ The submission is:
"Traffic Management of Avonside Drive needs to be reviewed in order to preserve the river bank and the properties along the river.

The stretch of Avonside Drive from Fitzgerald Avenue through to Woodham Road should be limited to light weight vehicles and emergency services vehicles only at this time and perhaps even reduced to a single lane at reduced speeds.

There are cracks that have developed in the roading since the February 22 earthquake indicating that the river banks and the ground are still moving.

Vibrations caused by heavy vehicles and traffic along this normally busy arterial route of roading is is going to be detrimental to the situation.

The river banks and properties along this section of Avonside Drive should be protected from any additional risk of being futher compromised.

Traffic could very easily be diverted down Gloucester Street from Woodham Road, Stanmore Road and Fitzgerald Avenue to prevent additional damage to the roading and would also allow contractors the opportunity to shore up the river banks and to repair the intersection of Woodham Road, Avonside Drive and Linwood Avenue which was badly damaged in September and again in February."
In addition to Greg, a couple of his neighbours have also made submissions in the hope that if enough noise is made about this, the Council will action something to protect the river bank which in turn protects their homes.

If you are prepared to support them this please consider making a submission. The website is here.

Silly idea of the year candidate - Ian Athfield as Architectural Ambassador

Somehow Ian Athfield became the architectural ambassador for Christchurch. We were out of the country during September and haven't found out exactly how this occurred, except it was apparently done to us by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. Having lived in Wellington in the 1970s and 80s I can think of nothing before or during that time which would have merited such an award, perhaps it all occurred afterwards. Whatever the reason, he had the ambassadorial position.

Reading the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday, and the Press yesterday, it seems Mr Athfield has the view that the only things the city should have are those that please him. Unless city planners abandon the one way system, and re-route the buses so there are fewer buses in the city, he will resign. Yes, the one way system is problematic, but manageable never the less. Re-routing the buses seems counter intuitive - the long term growth in bus patronage has been significant and surely buses should go where they are needed.

Taking the word "ambassador" literally, he should be promoting ideas from the constituency he represents, possibly even advising, and prompting. Issuing ultimatums that must be met to ensure his continued participation is outside that role; unless it is a prelude to a spectacular resignation from a position that is now bigger than he envisaged.

Irrespective of the merits of his position, the bottom line is that Christchurch is our city and we are the ones to be determining what is done, where, and how. To start issuing ultimatums, perhaps to be followed by further edicts, is inappropriate, petulant behaviour. Yes, a disaster does provide an opportunity to start from scratch, and resistance to change is reduced by natural disasters. However these situations should not be seen as an opportunity to impose solutions from the top, or an elitist position.

Perhaps when the new ministerial structure is announced in a week or so, the new chief executive will look at whether we need Mr Athfield and assess local feeling on the matter.

It is probably sufficient to say he is unsuitable for the position, should be deemed persona non grata, his credentials revoked, and sent back to Wellington.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fletchers - Clean Heat Hub

Fletchers have released the following:
Clean Heat Hub
1st floor
145 Blenheim Road
Riccarton
Tel: 03 343 4891
Servicing all areas with specific focus on installation of efficient and clean heating solutions as part of the Chimney Replacement Programme, established by EECA following the September 2010 earthquake.
 You can find the release here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Christchurch City Libraries

The state of the libraries is:
  • Akaroa, Bishopdale and Christchurch South Libraries are open.
  • Diamond Harbour, Hornby, New Brighton, Redwood, Riccarton and Spreydon Libraries are likely to open this week when services checks are completed.
This update is from the Council web page here. The page is changed often so is worth a regular visit.

River bank, parks and reserves

The Council have put out a report on the status of the river banks, parks and reserves.
    • While some coastal area parks are now open, a number still remain closed, due to safety hazards and pollution.
    • Field assessments of high use parks such as sports parks, Hagley, Travis Wetland and Victoria Park have now been completed across the City
    • Remaining park assessments are programmed for the next two weeks.
    • Tree inspections have been undertaken in the Botanic Gardens, Hagley Park, Central City Riverbanks, Avon and Heathcote Riverbanks and in the high use parks in the eastern suburbs.
    • Initial impressions are that there has been significant land movement and cracking along waterways and within parks.
    • There is significant rockfall hazard present on the Port Hills, especially east of Bowenvale. Large numbers of mature trees will need to be removed where cracking and slumping is present in the root zone of the tree.
    • Large amounts of park footpaths, tracks, carparks and sealed playing surfaces (netball and tennis courts, for example) have been damaged. Liquefaction and slumping on turf is a significant issue, especially on playing surfaces.
    • There is minor liquefaction in the eastern parks and playgrounds, including St Lukes Reserve, Radley Park, Petrie Park, Shirley Community Reserve, Charleston Reserve, Cypress Gardens, Halberg Reserve.
    • Please adhere to any closure signs, tape or barriers
    • In total, out of 981 parks, 206 are damaged, 651 are operational and 53 are not operational. 277 have not yet been assessed.
The report can be found part way down the web page here. The page is updated frequently so is worth visiting often.

News about Disaster

The media in New Zealand is full of this stuff, as we are all aware. Most of us have a strong suspicion, or belief, that the news we get is usually of low quality: short, light weight sound bites with shock-horror images, too little hard information, and expert analysis from people who are not good communicators.

Being isolated from the rest of the world, getting access to harder stuff is a challenge, so knowing where to look is key to knowing more.

There is no wand to wave and show you better media reporting on what is happening in Christchurch.  I can, however, point you to a site with current reporting on what is happening in Japan, and any other area experiencing major disasters. It is called Disaster management - bringing order to chaos and can be found here. Written very well by experienced journalists with good contacts, reading it will get you beyond the frothy stuff dished up here. They have one article on the February 22nd earthquake, written the day after, so you can check out the manner of their reporting by going here, and to their earthquake and storm site Shake and Blow, here.  

The site is part of a series of sites covering subject areas including military activities, terrorism, geo-political issues, regional issues, and industrial concerns. Some of these specialist topics are never covered in New Zealand, so this is the place to visit. Links to these sites can be found at the top of each page.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Building Assessment statistics

The following statistics are from one of the Council's web pages. We are one of the suburbs located in the Hagley-Ferrymead ward which, for now, contains the majority of the red-placarded houses.
Building Assessments (as at 1900 hrs 20 March)
  • Commercial: Total: 4205 buildings inspected; 832 red, 978 yellow, 2373 green.
  • CBD (4 avenues): 4079 building inspected; 996 red, 909 yellow, 2153 green
  • Residential: A total of 61,367 buildings inspected. 1,805 are red.
  • Heritage (i.e. listed in the City Plan): 941 buildings inspected; 346 red.
A red placard is not a demolition order.
In the following wards, there have been approximately:
  • Burwood-Pegasus:18,864 assessments; 309 red placards
  • Hagley-Ferrymead: 21,334 assessments; 1,741 red placards
  • Shirley-Papanui: 6,340 assessments; 73 red placards
  • Spreydon-Heathcote: 11,780 assessments; 239 red placards
  • Riccarton-Wigram: 1,378 assessments; 15 red placards
  • Fendalton-Waimairi: 3,601 assessments; 83 red placards
  • Banks Peninsula: 1,627 assessments; 145 red placards
You can find this information on the Council's website here.

CCC - Community briefings this week

The second lot of community briefings start this week. The next one for our area will be tomorrow at Richmond Park between 3.30 and 5.00pm.

These are organised by the Christchurch City Council with a view to letting you:
Hear the latest news followed by the chance to ask questions one-on-one.
  • Hear the latest news followed by the chance to ask questions one-on-one.
  • The briefing closest to you will be the most useful for you, however there will
    be relevant information at all of the briefings.
  • These are open-air briefings so dress for the weather and bring a seat.
  • There may not be toilet facilities at the briefings.
Visit www.canterburyearthquake.org.nz or phone (03) 941 8999.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holy Trinity Avonside

Images of the devastation to our two cathedrals and inner-city churches are well enough known. Below are photographs taken a few days ago of Holy Trinity Avonside which hasn't featured as much. While taking the photographs it was easy to remember and anticipate all the arguments, present and future, clamouring for protection and rebuilding.

This particular building is likely to be beyond repair. As with the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals there will be strong debate whether this and other church buildings ought to be retained, or rebuilt in the same form as they had before the 22nd of February. Ultimately the question boils down to: why should they be rebuilt that way? The answers need to be weighed for validity in a religious context. Historical, cultural, and city image issues may belong to secular historical buildings, but not to churches.

Many will have had important experiences inside, or associated with, these buildings. For some it will have been feelings of joy and a sense of community, or special events in the stages of life. Others may have been there, perhaps alone, and experienced nothing but the presence of God.

Despite these associations and connections, I am not concerned if the old church buildings are not rebuilt. Young or old, buildings that can kill humans need to go. Old buildings that will cost a great deal of money aren't worth keeping, there is more useful work to do. Most importantly, the outward appearance and interior splendour of church buildings isn't important. God doesn't need houses; all that people need is God. A roof over your head while worshiping God is a comfortable thing, but the building shouldn't become an object of worship. Perhaps there are those who would feel inadequate without a pious-looking cathedral, or by being in a church lacking a suitable outward appearance and nothing but a basic interior.

If design is to be important, then let us look at the things that are important: safety and our environment. An eco-friendly existence has been promoted by the churches, now is the time for them to follow their own lead - go and build safe and environmentally sound buildings.




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Dallington Terrace - flood protection update.

Work has been done to increase the height of the flood protection on the river bank.

As the photographs show the height of the bank has been noticeably increased, and is at the the point where it matches the height of the bank upstream.

Dallington Terrace, just upstream from Dallington Bridge

Dallington Terrace, just upstream from Dallington Bridge

Dallington Terrace, just upstream from Dallington Bridge