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Showing posts from 2011

EQC release fourteen more new geotech factual reports

EQC have released fourteen more T&T geotechnical factual reports. These reports are the results of geotechnical work undertaken months or weeks ago and so will throw no light on last week's events (see below). The reports cover:
AvonsideBeckenham & CashmereBromleyBryndwr Burwood Christchurch City Fendalton LinwoodMerivale New Brighton Richmond Shirley South New BrightonWoolston These, and the previously released reports, can be found here.

To repeat what was said in previous posts: much of the material is impenetrable to the normal mind but may have some useful background and summary information in the main part. The appendices have the bulk of the technical stuff. Appendix A defines the area under investigation, shows where the testing took place and what sort of testing it was. The other appendices vary in content and intelligibility.

The full list of releases is now:

Zoning appeals

In today's Press (here) it is mentioned that on the 23rd a Green Zone resident received a letter from CERA advising his zoning appeal had been turned down: he was confirmed as being Green. On the same day his area of Burwood erupted into mud volcanoes and was awash with silt and water.

This raises serious issues about the zoning appeal process.

The first point to note is that the appeal process has yet to be made public by CERA (it isn't mentioned on their website and they are not responding to e-mails until the 4th of January). It possibly doesn't even exist in final form. Until the process is announced and scrutinised there is absolutely no certainty that the appeal process is accessible, fair or reasonable. At the moment it seems to be more in the nature of a secret tribunal.

The second point is the absence of access to information about how decisions are being made for particular areas or individual properties. On what criteria was a decision based? What weig…

Christmas greetings

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Post after-shocks report

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Poor old Retreat Road experienced significant amounts of liquefaction and flooded again, as did the southern end of Keller Street (see photographs below). Chaddesden Lane and both ends of Cowlishaw Street also experienced liquefaction. Patten Street, Silverdale Place and Halley Place seemed okay. Once more the river turned the colour of mushroom soup.

There seems to have been no injuries or significant problems with property. The worst damage has been sustained by people, especially Orange zoned people, who still don't know what the future holds for them as their well being is battered again.

How long is it going to be until those in Retreat Road, Chaddesden Lane and elsewhere get rezoned? While government ministers and their officials take a nice long break, those who are in a most dreadful situation wait upon their leisure. Not the most civilised or humane of approaches for a government to take. Perhaps now the Prime Minister will exercise leadership and…

Support availability for the holiday period

During the Christmas shut-down period some support services will still be available if required. The following is from the CERA web site, and a list of support services is available here.
Canterbury Support Line
The Canterbury Support Line for services such as counselling, accommodation assistance, financial assistance, legal services or health services will be available to callers over the Christmas period from 8.30am to 11.00pm seven days a week on 0800 777 846.Temporary Accommodation
The Temporary Accommodation Service will be available on normal working days throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Their contact number is 0800 673 227. For accommodation assistance on other days people can go to www.quakeaccommodation.govt.nz or call 0800 777 846.Government Helpline
The 0800 Government Helpline (0800 77 99 97) is closed on the statutory holidays. The normal operating hours are 7.00am to 6.00pm weekdays, and 8.00am to 1.00pm Saturday. Housing New Zealand
Housing New Ze…

On being Green - technical categories and your property.

This week CERA sent Green-Blue TC3 properties a booklet called Technical categories and your property. The booklet can be downloaded as a PDF fromhere.

Over 12 pages the booklet endeavours to take away the mystery of what the categories mean, especially the Green-Blue TC3 category. This is done under the following headings:
Technical categories explainedClaim process flow chartTechnical categories and EQCNext steps for your insurance claimInfrastructure and consentingDoes it work to demystify the land categories? For me - not much. The reasons are:

Some of the wording used is more likely to cause confusion than reduce it.
On page 2 the introduction contains the following "Land in the green zone is generally considered suitable for residential construction ..." What does "generally" mean? Can it be inferred that some Green zoned sections will at some stage be deemed unsuitable for rebuilding? If so, a reference to where the explanatory information can be foun…

Release of EQC and Fletchers repair time frames

EQC have today released information on the time frames for repair work to be undertaken by Fletchers/EQR. The main target for the Canterbury Home Repair Programme is 80 percent of homes in the managed repair programme completed by 2014.

Fletchers/EQR have stated:
“Within this target (80%), EQC will prioritise the worst damaged homes – those with over $50,000 worth of damage. We hope to have these completed by mid-2013, but it will depend on the number of properties which ultimately fall into this category. We will update our customers on progress against this target as we go."The EQC media release is hereand that of Fletchers/EQRhere.

There is no hard information yet about how decisions will be made, and whether priority will also be assessed in terms of need ( e.g. health & well being, age, infants and young children, how long people have been out of their homes or living in damaged homes). So far costs and efficiencies appear to be the primary criteria (although …

Today's re-zoning announcement and the Orange zones

Details of today's White Zone announcement are on the CERA site here. Residents will need to wait until 4.00pm tomorrow before the landcheck website herewill show which properties have been reclassified as Green.

Confirmation has been received that Orange Zone properties will not be re-zoned this year, but remain a top priority. The reason for this is that the remaining Orange zones are the most complex areas to re-zone, and each faces unique geotechnical issues and potential solutions.

As well as identifying and investigating possible land remediation solutions, the Department of Building and Housing is undertaking research on design solutions for house foundations. The findings may or may not provide further options for rebuilding in these areas. The work of the DBH is not expected to be completed until February.

Red Zone maintenance

In his weekly update released yesterday Roger Sutton covered a number of issues important to those living in the Red zones or nearby.

Extracts from the update appear below. Some of the content needs to be seen as a starting point in discussions and negotiations between CERA and various communities. Areas where this will apply include destruction of established trees of various species and sizes, habitat protection, and how risks and security issues can be dealt with promptly and before damage, loss, or harm occurs. Not mentioned below, but starting to become a widespread health issue, is the growing number rats which will need to be tackled on an area-wide basis. 

An excellent concept is contained in the last bullet point where a single phone number will become available to deal with concerns.

Demolitions in the residential red zone will start in the new year with built structures such as houses and garages removed first. Remaining fences, vegetation, driveways and paths will …

Crown entity to manage AMI's earthquake claims

The information below is from today's media release by Bill English (Finance Minister, Minister responsible for EQC). The full media release can be foundhere.
IAG's agreement to purchase AMI Insurance, announced today, will strengthen the Canterbury insurance market and reduce the Crown's liability, Finance Minister Bill English says. As part of the deal, the Crown will take over ownership of AMI Insurance’s Canterbury earthquake related claims."The part of AMI dealing with earthquake claims – along with its reinsurance for those events - will be retained as a new Crown company and will continue to manage AMI's customers' earthquake claims," Mr English says. This will ensure those claims are managed effectively and with the minimum of disruption."For earthquake affected AMI policyholders, this means their existing earthquake claims will be managed by the new Crown company, while the IAG group will manage their ongoing insurance cover. For AMI…

AMI Insurance update - takeover by IAG

AMI has been purchased by IAG. The result is the Crown (government) through a Crown owned company will take over settling AMI's earthquake claims using AMI and government money.

The new AMI insurance company will be owned by IAG and carry on business as normal, with the exception of the earthquake claims. IAG today issued a commitment to AMI customers which can be foundhere.

AMI have a questions and answers pagehere to explain how policy holders will be affected. Some choice bits:
Does my AMI Insurance policy still offer the same protection?
Yes it does. Your current policies are exactly as before with the same renewal dates.On what date will these changes become effective?
The changes are expected to be complete early next year subject to IAG obtaining the necessary regulatory consents.Can I still take out new policies and will this new policy be with AMI or IAG?
Yes, we welcome your new business subject to current and future underwriting conditions that may be apply.  P…

Holy Trinity Avonside - Christingle Service

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Holy Trinity Avonside is holding a children's service, a traditional telling of the birth of Christ, at 4.00pm Sunday the 18th (this Sunday).

All are invited to take part and children are invited to dress as angles, shepherds, animals or kings. There will be a barbecue afterwards.

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Is this depression?

The Ministry of Health have a website called Depression.

Featuring John Kirwan, the website is designed to help people analyse how they feel and what they are going through, and determine if they are experiencing depression.

From the website:
Most people feel miserable now and then, often when something upsetting or stressful is happening such as a relationship break-up, or losing a job. Feeling down in response to difficult situations is pretty normal, and usually the feelings fade over time and you get on with life. But when the feelings of unhappiness are intense and persistent - and they don’t go away even when things improve - this could be depression.Those who want to can take a short on-line questionnaire and then join John Kirwan's programme. There are pages of explanations, techniques for finding a way through and a guide to staying well.
Equally important, there is information on how to help others and links to resources. 
The website ishere. .

Land stability in the inner city - Tonkin & Taylor report

The city council has released Tonkin & Taylor's interpretative report on the central city (land within the Four Avenues - Fitzgerald, Moorhouse, Deans & Harper, Bealey - but excluding Hagley Park). A copy of the report can be downloaded fromhere.

The following are from the report's executive summary:
No areas within the CBD or adjacent commercial areas were identified as having ground conditions that would preclude rebuilding on those sites, although more robust foundation design and/or ground improvement may be required. The risks of lateral spreading adjacent to some sections of the Avon River will require detailed geotechnical assessments, however, the adoption of a minimum 30m set-back required for creation of the Avon River Park will likely preclude the worst affected areas from future development.Christchurch is not unique in being located on soils susceptible to liquefaction within a seismically active region. There are a number of cities and large ur…

News from Nowhere

Good news helps raise the spirits, especially if there is an element of humour in it.

Leanne Curtis of CanCERN fame, and formerly of the Avonside Red Zone, has moved out into the middle of nowhere near Waikuku Beach. Here is her latest report of life way out there.

Our move to Waikuku Beach has been great and I know it's not always easy to hear the good news stories when you are still stuck in the thick of it but I tell it because we need to know there is a future after the Red Zone and it can be a great one. Below is a summary of the first two weeks.

We have officially moved out to the wop wops - no internet access until a port becomes available (what?) and very limited cell phone access unless you put the phone onto speaker, leave it in the perfect place on the kitchen bench and shout at it. So we are satisfyingly disconnected from the social media world and that is all good from where we sit.

We thought the garden was pretty cool when we bought the house but now that we…

Four more new geotech factual reports

EQC have released four more T&T geotechnical factual reports. These reports cover:
St AlbansWaimairi/Queens ParkWainoniWalthamThese, and the previously released reports, can be found here.

To repeat what was said in previous posts: much of the material is impenetrable to the normal mind but may have some useful background and summary information in the main part. The appendices have the bulk of the technical stuff. Appendix A defines the area under investigation, shows where the testing took place and what sort of testing it was. The other appendices vary in content and intelligibility.

The full list of releases is now:
AranuiAvondaleHillsboroughHoon HayNorth New BrightonOpawaPapanuiSomerfieldSpreydonSt AlbansSydenhamWaimairi/Queens ParkWainoniWaltham.

Earthquake Royal Commission - building fatalities hearing

The Royal Commission has commenced hearings on the buildings (other than CTV and PGC) that caused fatalities.

The following is an extract from the opening submission by Mark Zarifeh, one of the counsel assisting the Royal Commission. The full 4 page submission can be downloaded from here.
The fact that over 80% of the deaths caused by these building failures were in relation to people outside the buildings - in the main, pedestrians and motorists -highlights that the issue of what we are to do about URM buildings is a very real community problem.It also graphically highlights the futility of a Territorial Authority or Local Council having a passive earthquake prone policy and the need to urgently implement policies throughout New Zealand to, at the very least, address the potential dangers these buildings pose from collapsing facades, walls and parapets.These hearings will also address other issues raised by the Royal Commission's Terms of Reference including:
The inspect…

Updated guidance for the repair and reconstruction of homes in Canterbury published

The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) today released a publication Updated guidance for the repair and reconstruction of homes in Canterbury. A PDF copy can be foundhere. It is an update of a document released in December 2010.

Time will be needed to identify exactly what the changes mean for property owners. From a very quick skim through it appears that, in addition to new material on foundations (both building and patching them), the criteria in this amended document are "less onerous" than in the original version.

As a technical document it outlines what procedures are considered appropriate for various types of houses, the structural damage incurred, and the land category. While it describes what is permitted and recommended, one extremely important issue is only briefly addressed: the obligations of the insurer (EQC or a private insurance company) towards the policy holder.

Irrespective of what DBH may specify as suitable and satisfactory practices …

Canterbury Affordable Sections

Canterbury Affordable Sections is an organisation established to:
... facilitate and provide governance for the development of a series of affordable section development projects for Red Zone home owners.The intention is to identify suitable land that can be subdivided and sold in the range of $90,000 to $120,000 and still be close to the city. You can find more on their websitehere. .

Cardboard Cathedral - to be considered at a council meeting today

The agenda for today's council meeting includes an item (number 55) to consider a location and financial support for the Cardboard Cathedral. Council staff have prepared a report for council accompanied by a recommendation.

The recommendation of council staff is:
It is recommended that the Council:
(a) Decline the request from the ChristChurch Cathedral Diocese for the Council to make available council owned/held land for a temporary cathedral (the proposed “Cardboard Cathedral”).
(b) Resolve not to provide any financial assistance towards the establishment of a temporary cathedral.It seems ironic that council are keen to have a say on rebuilding the Cathedral yet wish to do nothing to provide interim support. The council meeting agenda is available here. .

EQC - changes to urgent repairs process

EQC have announced that from the 1st of January the procedure for having urgent repairs made will be changed. Until now homeowners have been able to authorise their own repairs up to $2,000. From the 1st anyone with urgent repairs MUST contact EQC who will arrange for the work to be done.

From the EQC website:
Urgent repairs are those which ensure the house is safe to live in, secure, sanitary and weather resistant.However, Mr Emson says with EQC completing assessments and well underway in repairing about 100,000 Canterbury homes, it needs to be able to better manage the repair workload, and customers will now be required to contact EQC to get the work done.“Emergency repairs will be managed as the highest priority.“Specialist EQC support staff will assess requests, and where the house in unsafe, insecure unsanitary or not adequately keeping out the weather, we will send someone in to do the work straight away.“If they can wait, the repairs will be managed as part of the over…

New central library - complete with free internet and WiFi

Christchurch City Libraries have announced the opening on Monday the 19th of December of Central Library Peterborough. Located at 87-91 Peterborough Street (near Colombo street) it is what was the former VBase offices and store. The hours will be Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and weekends from 10am-5pm.

For those who rely on the library for internet access this will be available, as will free WiFi.

From the library announcement:

What will be at Central Library Peterborough?
The temporary library will have a collection of more than 70,000 items, including books, magazines, CDs and DVDs.Family history resources and microfilm newspapers will be available. The Nga Pounamu Maori and the Ngai Tahu collections are also included.The collection features books, a range of new magazines, world language material, music CDs, DVDs, talking books and newspapers. It will cater for all ages.Most of the collection is stock from the Central Library in Gloucester Street. This includes new items, and …

Private sector investment for failing schools in central and eastern Christchurch.

The Press this morning has an article on National implementing an ACT policy whereby schools that are failing can access private sector investment.

From the Press online
Failing schools in central and eastern Christchurch will be amongst the nation's first to allow private investment, it emerged yesterday.A newly-agreed ACT-National coalition deal will allow private investment in failing schools and introduce a cap on government spending.Under the deal announced yesterday, community, religious or ethnic groups, or private companies, will be allowed to operate state-funded "charter" schools. The full article ishere.
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Orange Zone meeting - Friday night

CERA hosted an Avonside Orange Zone meeting in the Wainoni Scout Hall last night. For those who weren't able to attend here is a very brief report:
there were no new announcementsa major reason for the delay in rezoning our area is the complexity and variability of the underlying geology. Our part of Avonside has been the most complex of all the areas affected by the earthquake. the geotechnical work has been completed and the zoning decision process now rests with those who look at the aspects of cost and timeliness. After that it goes to Cabinet.CERA are open to improving communications and are willing to have more meetings.CERA will try to give advance notice of major announcements.Timing of the rezoning announcement is crucial. The period around Christmas and New Year is not a good time for people to receive critically important news (especially if on holiday). Whichever way the decision goes there will be some who will suffer and, with support and information services…

Earthquake Royal Commission - management of earthquake risk by CRC and CCC

The Royal Commission commissioned a report to look into how well both the Canterbury Regional Council and the Christchurch City Council managed earthquake risk through their respective planning processes.

From the Royal Commission's website:
The technical report Management of Earthquake Risk by Canterbury Regional Council and Christchurch City Council - Obligations and Responses under RMA was commissioned by the Commission. The purpose of the report is to investigate the manner in which issues of earthquake risk have been dealt with in the relevant planning documents of the Canterbury Regional Council (“Environment Canterbury”) and the Christchurch City Council (“the City Council”). This includes an analysis of the councils’ obligations under the Resource Management Act 1991 (“the RMA”), and the various steps that the councils have taken in carrying out those obligations.The report ishere. .

Basilica Update

Recently put on the web is the November edition of the Cathedral Update. It contains a brief description  of the structural damage, photographs from inside the building, and a list of heritage items recovered so far.

It can be found here.
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Roger Sutton - assurances of community consultation over Residential Red Zone demolitions

Roger Sutton's update for the 30th of November 2011 includes the following regarding Residential Red Zone house demolitions:
Demolitions of houses in the residential red zone are not due to start until next year. We are working with insurers, Councils, support services and community groups to ensure that this work is coordinated and that there is minimum disruption to adjacent home owners.  We will continue to work with the home owners and communities as this work begins and will keep the public updated on progress.In my mind this creates the expectation that our community will be consulted before demolitions start in February, and also during and afterwards. So far there has been no contact.
Whichever way our Orange Zone goes, and for those who are already Red or Green, there will be issues of importance to us not only around the demolition processes themselves, but also the short and medium term effects on health, well being, and the environment.
The full update ishere. .

Visit to the CERA hub at Avondale

The first thing you need to do before visiting is ring up to make an appointment. We shot over last week as soon as an EQC issue arose only to find no one from EQC could see us - they were all busy. An appointment was sorted and I made a visit to the Avondale hub this morning as part of the saga of trying to sort out the EQC issues.

It was an interesting experience. The space provided is not big and there are a lot of staff and desks in a small space. Having dutifully arrived at least 5 minutes early there was time to fill in a form with claim numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and other statistical information.

At the appointed time one of the EQC people came up, introduced himself to me, and we went and sat at his desk. If you are a private person you may want to ring ahead to arrange something different, as the cramped conditions mean there there is a certain intimacy and mingling of conversations.

One by one we went through the issues and, for the first time, it felt li…

Earthquake Royal Commission - Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building

The Earthquake Royal Commission today started a public hearing to consider all issues relevant to the failure of the Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building.

Information, technical and historical reports presented today are available on-line in the Commission's document libraryhere. Also available are statements and briefs of evidence from people caught up in the collapse of the building, and those otherwise involved.

Information about the Commission's PGC hearing programme is availablehere.
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More new geotech factual reports

EQC have released four more T&T geotechnical factual reports for some parts of the city. These reports cover:
AvondaleOpawaPapanuiSpreydonThese, and the previously released reports, can be found here.

To repeat what was said earlier: much of the material is impenetrable to the normal mind but may have some useful background and summary information in the main part. The appendices have the bulk of the technical stuff. Appendix A defines the area under investigation, shows where the testing took place and what sort of testing it was. The other appendices vary in content and intelligibility.

The full list of releases is now:

AranuiAvondaleHillsboroughHoon HayNorth New BrightonOpawaPapanuiSomerfieldSpreydonSydenham.

Cathedral Square walking tours

CERA are opening up a walkway to allow limited numbers of people to go through Cathedral Square and see what has been happening.

The walkway is open on weekends only, between 9.00am and 8.00pm, until the 11th of December. Groups of no more than 300 per hour will be allowed onto the walkway and for a maximum of 50 mins at a time. Tours will start every hour, on the hour. Very stringent safety conditions will be in place, however hi-vis clothing and helmets are not required. Solid footwear is essential.

Information about the walkway is on the CERA pagehere. At the bottom of the page is a 10 minute video showing what will be seen by those taking the tour.
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Central City Plan - update

The CCC yesterday provided an update on progress with the Central City Plan. It is currently being amended for presentation to council on the 15th of December.

The status of the plan, the draft plan itself, and the technical appendices that will accompany it can be foundhere. The appendices that can be downloaded are:

Appendix A  Public Consultation Summary
Appendix A  TELL US WHAT YOU THINK FORMAL PUBLIC CONSULTATION
Appendix B  Central City Plan consultation phase key stakeholder briefings summary
Appendix B  Central City Plan Stakeholder meetings Summary May - July 2011 UPDATE
Appendix C  Remembering Christchurch Presentation
Appendix E  Population Forecasts and Demographics
Appendix F  Demand Analysis
Appendix G  Study of Trends for New 4 to 8 Level Buildings in Christchurch CB
Appendix G  CCC-Feasibility.gslm-61 22.Oct 11
Appendix H  Character Descriptions of Areas
Appendix I  Retail Peer Review
Appendix J  Tourism Strategy Peer Review
Appendix K  CCP Community wellbei…

Ansvar Insurance pulling out of New Zealand

The following is from the Ansvar website. More detail is available from their website here.
As a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, Ansvar Insurance Limited (Ansvar New Zealand) is regretfully ceasing to provide insurance cover in New Zealand and will undertake a managed withdrawal from the market.We have begun notifying our New Zealand customers about what this means for them. We are committed to supporting our policyholders to the fullest extent possible through this process. We are seeking to implement arrangements with other insurance companies to provide replacement interim or permanent cover for most of our customers.In addition, we remain focused on continuing to provide a quality claims service until all claims are settled.Andrew Moon, Chief Executive OfficerWhy has Ansvar made this decision?
This is a result of the prohibitive cost of reinsurance following the devastating series of earthquakes in Canterbury in 2010 and 2011.I am an Ansvar policy holder, what does …

Home Building Guide

For those who are amongst the many thousands of rebuilds in Christchurch, getting to grips with the building process is likely to be an enormous issue.

While nearly all these houses will be rebuilt courtesy of our insurance companies, it is important to have a head full of ideas when meeting with claims managers and project managers. If you don't know, you can't ask, so some background reading is essential.

The website www.buildingguide.co.nz covers a great deal of this information in an easy to read format. Better still they have put out a 82 page A4 size magazine that covers all the building phases from conception through to completion with a great deal of effort put into discussing design and materials plus the legal processes and requirements. Even the advertising is worth careful study as the ideas and products spark off all sorts of thoughts!

The booklet is called BUILDING GUIDE: your step-by-step guide to better home building. Shirley Library had a few copies …

Land information - the CERA database

CERA have a database that is to be central to all Red Zone legal transactions. Referred to as the CERA settlements database (part of Project Orbit) it is available to lawyers acting for Red Zone residents. The CERA web page Information for lawyers mentions it here.

However it seems the database may hold much more than just information about property transactions. The Department of Building and Housing (see reference below) describe it as having a use in Green Zone areas:
Insurers, their Project Management Organisations (PMO’s), Building Consent Authorities, designers and builders will have access to the Canterbury Recovery Orbit website, as necessary. This will enable access to Technical Category and existing geotechnical information specific to the site, provide a means to enter geotechnical data collected and facilitate building consent applications.  It seems likely the databases mentioned by CERA and the Department of Building and Housing are facets of the same thing.

As CERA is gat…

Vero CEO on disaster insurance in New Zealand

Australian insurance website insuranceNEWS.com.au reports on an address by NZ Vero CEO Gary Dransfield given to the Trans Tasman Business Circle in Auckland last week. The full report is here.

Amongst the issues raised by Dransfield was the need for EQC to continue in an expanded role with greater capital behind it. One expansion would be to provide some level of insurance support for commercial properties. Another would be as a buyer of reinsurance for local underwriters (the Pharmac of the insurance industry?).
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Barbecue at Avonside Girls High School - with photos

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Arrow, project managers for the work at the School, and the Ministry of Education hosted a barbecue this morning to which local residents were invited. It was an opportunity to see how much work had been done so far. Demolition work is almost complete and the original batch of relocatable classrooms are being prepared.

There are to be up to 25 more relocatable classrooms put on the site as the Jobberns and Gresson blocks do not meet the new earthquake standards and cannot be fixed in time for a term one opening next year. Most of the additional relocatable classrooms are to be built on site, but a few will be trucked in. The extra classrooms will provide staff facilities, science rooms, and a toilet block.

Click the link for photographs

Red Cross - Independent advice grant for vulnerable homeowners

The Red Cross have announced a grant for vulnerable homeowners who live in the Red Zone, or have repairs in excess of $100,000. The following is from the Red Cross website:
(a grant of) up to maximum of $750 per household to assist vulnerable homeowners with obtaining assistance on what to do with their earthquake damaged property.

The grant is aimed at assisting vulnerable people whose property has been assessed at costing over $100,000 to repair and/or their land has been zoned red. A vulnerable person can be defined as the applicant or a member of their household must either be disabled/have a pre-existing medical condition, or be over 65 yrs or have children who live with them who are under 18 years.Full information and an application form can be found here.
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Roger Sutton - Explaining the Green Zone categories

Roger Sutton will be on Maori TV at 1.30 on Saturday explaining the new Green Zone technical categories.
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CERA: zoning changes and updated Zone's map

CERA have updated their Zones map to take into account today's announcements. You will find ithere.

The text of the announcements arehere for residential properties, andhere for non-residential properties.

The reasons for the decisions aren't known as the relevant Cabinet Papers have yet to appear on the CERA website.
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Earthquake Royal Commission - Peer review of the Department of Building and Housing technical investigation reports

The Earthquake Royal Commission has received a peer review of the Department of Building and Housing's technical and investigation reports.

From the Royal Commission's website:
This report by William Holmes of Rutherford & Chekene consulting engineers in San Francisco peer reviews the following Department of Building and Housing technical investigation reports:
Structural Performance of Christchurch CBD Buildings in the 22 February Aftershock: Stage 1 Expert Panel Report dated 30 September 2011 (DBH Expert Panel);Investigation into the Collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation Building on 22nd February 2011 dated 26 September 2011 (Beca);Report on the Structural Performance of the Hotel Grand Chancellor in the Earthquake of 22 February 2011 dated 26 September 2011 (Dunning Thornton Consultants Ltd);Investigation into the Collapse of the Forsyth Barr Building Stairs on 22nd February 2011 dated 26 September 2011 (Beca)The 13 page review (here) discusses the approach tak…

Insurance Ombudsman - information updates for residential and small business policy holders

The Insurance and Savings Ombudsman's office has produced consumer information sheets for earthquake claimants who have residential or small business policies. These sheets, along with a lot of others, are here.
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More Green Zone information

CERA have added a new page to their website that brings together existing material on the three categories of Green along with information about the TC3 (Green-Blue) meetings to be held this week and next. The page is here.

The meetings from tomorrow on are:
Wednesday 16 November
For Parklands residents held at Parklands Baptist Church from 3-5pm
For St Albans / Richmond residents held at St Albans Baptist Church from 6.30-8.30pmThursday 17 November
For Woolston residents held at Woolston Working Men's Club from 11am-1pm
For Aranui residents held at Chisnallwood Intermediate from 6.30-8.30pmFriday 18 November
For St Albans / Richmond residents held at St Albans Working Mens Club from 2.30-4.30pm
For Kaiapoi residents held at Kaiapoi North Primary School from 6.30-8.30pmMonday 21 November
For Parklands residents held at Parklands Baptist Church from 2-4pm
For St Albans / Richmond held at St Albans Baptist Church from 6.30-8.30pmTuesday 22 November
For Bishopdale residents …

Blog hack warning

Problem fixed - blog has been moved to wordpress.com for hosting
The companion version of this blog www.avonsideblog has been hacked and has a redirect to a site in Russia!


The folk who host the blog are looking at getting it back. In the meantime stay away.

Green/Blue TC3 zone meetings starting tomorrow

There seems to be a significant communications issue over CERA community meetings for those who are living on TC3 land.

Apparently the meetings aimed at those living in this area start tomorrow (Monday), and are scheduled for locations in Hagley Park and St Albans. The CERA website makes no mention of them, nor do their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

The following is from a newsletter put out by MP Brendon Burns:
Ø Monday, November 14: 1.00-3.00pm: Geodome Hagley Park
Ø Tuesday, November 15: 6.30-8.30pm: Geodome Hagley Park
Ø Wednesday, November 16: 6.30-830pm: St Albans Baptist Church (McFaddens Rd)
Ø Friday, November 18: 2.30-4.30pm: St Albans Working Men's Club (Hills Rd)
Ø Monday, November 21: 6.30-8.30pm: St Albans Baptist ChurchMaybe CERA should run their 0800 number 7 days a week. This would help when things seem to have gone wrong, and especially when news releases are issued immediately prior to a weekend.
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Major road works on Woodham Road

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Major infrastructure work (sewer renewal) along Woodham Road will begin on Monday morning (14th) and is expected to finish within 4 months. The map below shows the extent of the work that will be done. The first phase starts at Tancred street and heads east. 

From the Infrastructure Rebuild website:
Full traffic management will be in place as detailed below. This work will start Monday 14 November.  We will be working Monday to Friday between the hours of 7am to 5pm, and on Saturdays between the hours of 7am to 3pm. On rare occasions we may have to work on a Sunday to complete essential work. We expect the work to take about four months to complete, subject to favourable weather and on-site conditions. This first phase of works will commence between Gloucester Street and Tancred Street, and extend east to the Ngarimu Street / Woodham Road intersection.  This work will impact on traffic movements.  The following traffic management will be in place: One-way east-bound traffic will …

New geotech factual reports

EQC have released T&T geotechnical factual reports for some parts of the city. The full list of releases is:
AranuiHillsboroughHoon HayNorth New BrightonSomerfieldSydenhamThe reports can be found here.

Much of the material is impenetrable to the normal mind but may have some useful background and summary information in the main part. The appendices have the bulk of the technical stuff. Appendix A defines the area under investigation, shows where the testing took place and what sort of testing it was. The other appendices vary in content and intelligibility.

Prior to February 22 the significance of the release of the Factual Reports meant that the Interpretative reports weren't too far away. This still isn't street or property level detail but, in the past, was a reasoned analysis of the wider area.

Earthquake Royal Commission - Local authority responses to the Commission's request for information

In October the Earthquake Royal Commission wrote to local authorities throughout the country and requested information regarding the following questions:
Has your Council taken any steps to review any aspect of its earthquake prone building policy since the Canterbury earthquake?If your Council has taken steps in relation to its Earthquake Prone Policy since the Canterbury Earthquakes, or intends to do so, please advise to what extend your Council has or intend to consult with the following groups: Property Owners, Tenants, The community generally.The Royal Commission would also like to receive any information you may have, bearing on whether insurers are taking a more demanding approach to the earthquake strengthening of existing building following the Canterbury Earthquakes.The responses from a large number of local authorities have been released on the Commission's website here.
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Chlorine to go from the water

The Council has announced that chlorine will be progressively removed from the water supply and should be completely gone by early December. The media release is here.
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Would you want to buy AMI?

On insurance website InsuranceNEWS.com.au there is an article looking at whether buying AMI would be a good idea. There is no conclusive answer, but the discussion is thorough.

One fact that seems to have escaped both the writer and the critics of AMI relates to the concentration of insurance in Christchurch. While criticising AMI of having too much exposure in Christchurch, no mention is made of the history of AMI and how, as SIMU (South Island Motor Union), it had been based in Christchurch with major local support for many decades.

The article is here.
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Avonside Holy Trinity - all gone

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On Wednesday the last of the rubble was removed from the site of Holy Trinity Avonside. Apart from some protection to the columbarium the fences are gone and the whole place open again. On the south side of where the church once was are graves that haven't seen the sun for many decades. For now they are basking in daylight and surrounded by exuberant shrubs, flowers and grasses. Nothing like an old overgrown cemetery to feel the age of a place.


A church has been on this site since 1857, longer than there has been a cathedral in the Square. The land in Avonside (named after the church - Avonside Holy Trinity) is one of the oldest areas of settlement in Christchurch. One of the first rural areas (!) in Canterbury it became the second suburb to the city after Heathcote. Just as the inner city is losing most of its heritage buildings, Christchurch is also losing almost the entirety of one of its heritage suburbs.

In all the discussion and noise about iconic buildings in the…

Real estate agents and their tricks

Back on the 28th of October the New Zealand Herald printed an article, Real estate agent tricks to watch out for, by Diana Clement.

The theme of article is summarised in the 3rd paragraph:
The majority of real estate agents do a good job and earn a fair income overall. Choosing the wrong agent, however, could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars - either through unnecessary commissions or jiggery pokery which ensures you sell for too little or pay too much.and then goes on to cover the misconduct and disciplinary issues that have arisen in the real estate industry and how the occasional rogue agent keeps popping up. Some of the inappropriate practices are also mentioned: Other common tricks agents play, which aren't necessarily in the best interest of the vendor or buyer, include: Pushing vendors to pay for advertising they don't need in order to market the agency, not the property. Some agents take a cut from this advertising as well. Quoting unrealistic price…

Video bus tour through the inner city Red Zone

For those unable to take a trip on the bus tours through the city's Red Zone, CERA have produced a video of one of the bus trips (31 minutes long). Narrated by Warwick Issacs, CERA's general manager of demolitions, it describes the scene as the bus travels along.

If you are able to take a bus tour there is an audio commentary to download and listen to while travelling on the bus.

Both of these are available on the CERA website here.
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ChristChurch Cathedral update

There are two new updates concerning the Cathedral.

The Church has released information about the state of the building, the planned deconsecration, and the subsequent partial demolition. This news release is available from the Cathedral website here.

CERA yesterday released what it calls The Christchurch Cathedral File on its website here. From the CERA web page it is possible to download the whole file (major download at 66MB) or parts of it. Unfortunately the CERA server, as of last night, does not support download resuming. This can be frustrating with large files. For those with slow internet connections the risk of having to try repeatedly top download a file can be reduced by using the option to down a section at a time.

The full File is made up of 460 pages going from the most recent (2 Nov 2011), back to shortly after the February earthquake. It is sort of in date date order, but only just, with recent material as likely to be found at the back as the front. The Fi…

EQC FAQ update: Land remediation timeframes and dwelling claims

The following is from the FAQ part of EQC's website which, by my calculations, was updated with these additions some time yesterday.

How do you fancy having your land repairs managed by Fletchers or your insurer? Do you know if your land assessment has been done? Read on:

LAND CLAIMS

The land claims FAQ is here.

What are the timeframes for land repairs, given that they will in some cases delay building repairs?
For repairs being managed through the Fletcher EQR programme, land repairs will be managed as part of the overall repair programme on each property, and the timeframe for land repairs is essentially the same as for other repairs. EQC and Fletcher EQR hope to make an announcement on specific timeframes soon, but this is a project on a very large scale, and it could be a matter of years before it all work is completed. Who's doing land repairs (if under cap)? Is it Fletcher EQR?
For properties being managed by Fletcher EQR, all work will be done by accredited cont…

Photographing the loss of Avonside

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A photo documentary project has begun to record a number of post-earthquake personal experiences. It will, over a period of years, record the lives of some Avonside residents as they and the suburb experience the after-effects of the earthquakes.

It is intended the project will result in a public exhibition featuring the people and events, potentially a book, and a significant oral and visual record of what happened to the suburb and some of it's people. The material gathered will become a significant record and educational resource in the collections of the A Place in Time Documentary Project.

The aim of A Place in Time is to record the city of Christchurch and a cross-section of its people through photography, oral history and documentary writing. Since its establishment in 2000 it has produced an extensive archive of exhibitions, books, and educational projects under the directorship of Glenn Busch. Many of the projects have resulted in highly acclaimed and widely p…

Green-blue TC3 land and the potential for insurance problems

Back on the 9th of September there was a blog entry about insurance companies and how they might decide that not all properties in the green zone can be repaired because of damage to the land underneath (here and as reported by insuranceNEWS.com here).

Gerry Brownlee's media release from last Friday (here) states:
"The information released today will allow homeowners with damaged properties in the residential green zone to get on with the process of repairing or rebuilding their homes with greater confidence," he said.Greater confidence is a start, but certainty is needed. Has the government discussed the status of TC3 land with insurance companies? Do they accept that land classified as TC3 is safe to rebuild on? What reservations do they have?

Once more we come back to the four points raised in the earlier blog:
Will the "damaged land, repairable house" scenario arise in the Green Zone as well?Will insurance companies take upon themselves the power to …