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Saturday, 7 May 2011

The New City - the Central City Plan

CCC have responsibility for redeveloping the central city. The blueprint for this will be the Central City Plan which the council must finalise and pass to CERA by December this year. As mentioned in the previous post (here) there is a timeline from now until December through the course of which the council will seek community input as the Plan is developed to draft stage, then formal hearings will be held, after which the Plan will be finalised and handed to CERA.

On its Share an Idea website the council explains the Plan like this:
The Central City Plan is a vision which will outline how people, business and retail can use this area of Christchurch; how we will develop the public spaces; how we might move about the Central City; what activities we will promote in this area; what public facilities will be found in the Central City; how we support businesses to return to the Central City and what types of buildings are rebuilt.
Some work has been done, and decisions made, by the council prior to consultation:
We are not beginning with a blank canvas as considerable work has already been done on how to revitalise the Central City. The Central City Plan will build on this work. Some decisions may also be made about the Building Code and future use of land in the Central City by the Earthquake Commission and Government which will need to be reflected in the Central City Plan.
The council has established an outline and constraints for the planning process, and all discussion and contributions will need to comply with this to be considered relevant. Even if you don't want to be involved in the planning process, you can see already how the plan will take shape, and how the basic physical layout of the city is going to look.
The areas for which the council will be planning are:
  • Move – how people get to and around the central city
  • Market – how to encourage economic activity in the city centre
  • Space – what our city looks like and how space is used
  • Life – how to create a vibrant centre that’s a great place to live, work and play
There is no indication if these four categories are in order of descending priority.

In describing the process the council also mention that some physical constraints have been placed on what can happen:
What are we working with?
There are a number of aspects to the Central City which will not be changed and will shape the Central City Plan. These non-negotiables are:
  • The Central City will not be relocated.
  • More than 50% of buildings within the red zone are likely to have survived the earthquake and will remain in their current form.
  • The form and function of Hagley Park will remain the same.
  • The meandering Avon River’s course will not be changed.
  • The grid pattern of the Central City streets will remain; however, there may be changes to traffic flows and use of streets.
Other constraints exist alongside those mentioned above. The insurance policies held by the council provide for replacing like with like, so physical changes (e.g. major redesign to the appearance of streets) may be ruled out on those grounds. Similarly, many property owners will be limited by the value and terms of their policies to what they can do.

Areas of likely change not mentioned above include the rating system which forces developers into high rise buildings to make maximum use of the amount of space they can build on, and the "perceptual" dimension of the building code. In the latter case, despite the best regulations and design in the world, some residents may refuse to work or shop in high rise, brick or stone buildings they perceive to be potentially unsafe. A city of untennantable buildings must be avoided. 

In a similar vein the council will need to modify regulations to ensure the greatest range of development applications, and variations to approvals, are publicly notified and rigorously examined. Council practices must ensure that a "business friendly" approach is not at the cost of the other values of the city, or the personal well being of residents. 

This must also be an opportunity for the residents and communities of greater Christchurch to examine, consider and refine the corporate values and practices of the council (elected and unelected) to ensure it too is suitable for the new city.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Central City Redevelopment

CCC have created a website designed to allow residents (and presumably any one else who visits the site) to look at redevelopment ideas, click on the ones of interest, and vote for them.

A somewhat unusual method of getting input and, if one were a little cynical, easily manipulated. You can get to it from here and it is worth a visit as it heralds a new digital way of doing things. It is not democratic (i.e. not one person, one vote for those who are directly involved with the city) nor is it transparent (who is voting and how many times), but it is becoming the junk food style of conveniently hearing a voice of the people.

The background to this website, the Community Expo next weekend, and other things we have yet to hear about, is the creation of a Central City Plan (see next blog) to submit to CERA for approval before Christmas. The approach being taken by the council is to break the areas to be planned for into four categories:
  • Move – how people get to and around the central city
  • Market – how to encourage economic activity in the city centre
  • Space – what our city looks like and how space is used
  • Life – how to create a vibrant centre that’s a great place to live, work and play
The very approximate timeline for this planning process is:
  • two months of consultation
  • draft Central City Plan completed by mid-July
  • consultation on the plan starting with submissions, which close in September 
  • hearings in September and October
  • plan worked on and finalised by December
  • final Central City Plan presented to CERA in December.
Not yet known is what happens once CERA get the plan.

Rebuilding ChCh - youth perspectives, May 14, 2011

Social Innovation charitable trust are organising a three day event where young people can gather together to consider their vision of a rebuilt Christchurch.Registration details are here. On the registration website is the following introduction and programme:
This event is one of several youth focused workshops and seminars that are being held over time in Christchurch to engage young people in the decision-making process and capture the variety of perspectives.
9.30am: Registration -
10-1020: Welcome & introduction
1020-1100:  Speaker 1
1100-1120: Morning tea
1120-1200: Speaker 2
1200-1230: Briefings + Q&A session
1230-1.30: Lunch
1.30-3.30: Collaboration cafe sessions
3.30 -4.30pm: Plenary fedback & where to next
4.30-7pm: Music & BBQ
The event has been designed to be fluid enough so that issues can be explored more deeply if that is the wish of the gathering.
An ambassadorial group will attend the second day of the City Council facilitated community expo at the CBS Arena on Sunday 15 May btwn 10am & 5pm. The expo is where the people of Chch can start sharing their ideas for the redevelopment of our city's earthquake-damaged CBD.
Following this day long workshop is "Youth Vision 2050" -  20-22 May - attendees receive a free ticket to TEDxEQCHCH. Spaces are limited.  Event produced by One Christchurch and Social Innovation.
Get involved - find out more from or 021 082 363 57

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Strategies for parents - supporting children after an earthquake

SKIP (Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents) has a website to provide ideas and tips for supporting families and friends after an earthquake. The website is here.

EQC full inspection appointments

The EQC Twitter site has the following information about inspections:
We will give at least 24 hours notice when we make an appointment for a full assessment. Appointments can be re-arranged.
It is interesting to note that inspections can be re-arranged. This information was tweeted on the 2nd of May. 

The EQC Twitter site is here:

Council and other tweeting

The CCC have a Twitter site where the latest information is "tweeted". It has been around for a while but probably escaped the notice (or interest) of many.

As important short term information appears here (e.g. details of power outages, service messages, and announcements about forthcoming events such as this month's Community Expo) you may want to take note of the web address which is:

Orion have their own Twitter site

EQC's Twitter site is a mixed bag but does have some gems, such as this one from the 2nd of May:
We will give at least 24 hours notice when we make an appointment for a full assessment. Appointments can be re-arranged.
Nice to know appointments can be re-arranged. EQC tweet here

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Retraining for prisoners

The Minister of Corrections, Judith Collins, has announced a programme for retraining prisoners "... to help meet the demand for these skills in the Christchurch recovery."

The following is from the media release:
“The second Christchurch earthquake has generated a huge demand for trade skills as the rebuild gets underway. To meet this demand, the Department of Corrections will be ramping up trade training in the areas of highest demand,” Ms Collins said.
“Over the next 12 months, between 130 and 160 new training placements in specific trades will be provided at Christchurch Men’s Prison.
“Three new training workshops will also be established in the low security area of the prison, which will deliver courses in painting, plastering, plumbing, drain laying and gas welding.
“Existing carpentry and joinery skills for house building and refurbishment training will also be expanded.
“The training workshops will be operational by late October and the first group of prisoners will be completing NZQA qualifications in the New Year.”
Very meritorious I'm sure. What, however, about the many thousands of workers who have lost jobs, or will do so in the next few weeks? It would be good to hear of training workshops, courses, and industry qualifications for those who are not in prison. At the moment the reward and punishment system seems to be upside down.

The full press release is here.

CTU - information for workers

The CTU website has a page with information for Christchurch workers affected by the earthquake. Some of the information is specific to the period immediately after the 22nd of February, while the rest relates to now and the future. There are 10 earthquake and employment FAQ's on the page, which can be found here.

Yesterday the CTU announced a programme called Together. The following is from their news page:
Together is a new organisation established and run by the unions affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions. Together aims to connect workers in un-unionised work places with the union movement and the union experience. Membership, costing just $1 per week ($52 per year), gives employees and contractors, in industries and locations without union support, access to help and expert advice.
Together also offers family/whanau membership giving the opportunity for current union members to join up as many of their family and whanau as they want for just $1 per week. Family/whanau membership makes their family part of the union family and gives them the values and benefits union members share.
The full news item can be found here.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Holy Trinity Community Day

Holy Trinity Avonside are holding a community fun day in the car park of Holy Trinity Avonside (Lychgate Close - off Stanmore Rd) on Monday the 6th of June from 10am until 2pm (Queen's birthday).

The day will be a day for the whole family to enjoy! It will have give-aways, as well as activities for children, and free bouncy castle and face painting. This is an opportunity for groups from our neighbourhood to fundraise or to raise awareness for their group.

If you are interested in having a table at this fun day, please contact Rosalyn Deane 383-7980 or email her at

(NOTE: Holy Trinity have a website here)

EQC - FAQ updated again

EQC have redesigned their FAQ. It is now a lot easier to navigate.

The FAQ entry for excesses payable on land has now been corrected to show there is a maximum excess payable of $5,000. The previous blog on this issue is here.

Monday, 2 May 2011

State Insurance - work programme has recommenced

State Insurance have released updated information on their work programme, which has just been restarted. The areas of activity will be where there has been no land damage (it is EQC, not insurance companies, who have responsibility for land remediation), and where there is a reduced risk of further earthquake damage. The full information release is here.

The areas where they are working include the following:
  • North of Christchurch: including Kaiapoi and the greater Waimakariri District
  • Northwest Christchurch: includes Riccarton, Upper Riccarton, Middleton, Oaklands, Halswell (north of Sparks and Halswell Junction Roads), Burnside, Bishopdale, Sockburn, Hornby and Russley
  • Rural Canterbury: includes those outside zone properties across the plains from the outskirts of Christchurch, but currently excluding Halswell, Tai Tapu and Lincoln as more time is needed to assess these areas.
Associated with the information release is the following mini-FAQ:
How are you prioritising who gets rebuilt first?
While we appreciate that everybody’s needs are just as important, we can’t get to everyone at once. We have many claims lodged with us and new claims being received every week, which still require assessment. It’s also important to remember the scale of the event – the volume of claims means we have to prioritise claims by location, focusing first on those with uninhabitable homes. Other factors like those who are elderly or impaired and families with young children will also be taken into account.
Within the areas where we can commence work (no land issues and minimal risk of aftershock damage); we’re prioritising claims for severe structural damage first, including homes that are uninhabitable, and businesses with building, plant and stock losses. Houses with minor or no structural damage will be prioritised as efficiently and effectively as possible.
What’s happening to contents and non-EQC claims?
Non-EQC claims will proceed in those areas where our work programme is recommencing. However, we recognise that some of our customers will have suffered significant contents losses and in these instances we can make emergency payments for those in need (even if they live outside the areas we’re currently working in). Please call your claims case manager.
Given the volumes of claims we’re receiving it could be a while before we get to contents and non-EQC claims. That’s why we’re encouraging customers to complete the forms in the Earthquake Claim Pack “Getting started on your contents claim and claims not covered by EQC”. The more information you can provide us now means we’ll have a head start when we get to your claim.

The claims pack mentioned above can be found here.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Community Law Canterbury - update on hours

As money and jobs start to run out some of us may have difficulties that should not be left. Community Law Canterbury, 35 Riccarton Road (new, temporary address), are available to assist with legal help for general or earthquake related matters.

On their website (here) they have published the hours they are available.
  • the Centre's phone lines are operational between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 366 6870
  • the legal information phone lines are operational between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Phone 366 6870 or 0508 CANLAW (0508 226 529) if ringing from outside Christchurch
  • The Drop-in Clinic is available Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm, and Saturday between 9.30am and 12pm, at 35 Riccarton Road.
In addition, a free lawyer will be available at various locations throughout the Eastern Suburbs. For a free lawyer near you phone 366 6870.