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Friday, 11 November 2011

Major road works on Woodham Road

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 be maintained along Woodham Road throughout this phase of the works. Please take care when exiting your property to ensure you travel in the correct direction.
    • Between Gloucester Street and Tancred Street, the west-bound traffic lane along Woodham Road will be closed.  A detour route via Gloucester Street and Linwood Avenue will be sign posted.
    • When the work site is extended east to Ngarimu Street, west-bound traffic will be detoured via Worcester Street, Surrey Street, and Gloucester Street to Linwood Avenue.
    • Provision will be made for parking and access to the doctor’s surgery on the Gloucester Street / Woodham Road intersection.
    • On-street parking will not be available in the vicinity of the works to maintain a safe traffic lane.
    • Full signage will clearly indicate detours.
• An update notice explaining progress with the works towards Avonside Drive, and further traffic detours, will be circulated early in 2012.

 Full details are available on the Infrastructure Rebuild website here.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

New geotech factual reports

EQC have released T&T geotechnical factual reports for some parts of the city. The full list of releases is:
  • Aranui
  • Hillsborough
  • Hoon Hay
  • North New Brighton
  • Somerfield
  • Sydenham
The 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.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

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.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Would you want to buy AMI?

On insurance website 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.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Avonside Holy Trinity - all gone

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 city centre, somehow the crowd has forgotten that Avonside is an iconic suburb. Incorporating houses ranging in age from more than 100 years, to just a few years, there is a parade of styles that well illustrates how house designs changed in the pre-earthquake lifetime of Christchurch. From a modern gated community, through infill housing and the kiwiana quarter acre section the suburb has the lot. There was a cottage school that became Avonside Girls High School, and some streets of social housing that accommodated those who couldn't afford the kiwi dream. There is even a kitset house shipped out from Britain in 1906.

Not much is likely to remain by the time the deconstructors are finished, and something tangible needs to stay. It seems imperative to keep the Church here, an anchor for those who experience the Red Zone turmoil, and for those who remain. Holy Trinity Avonside has been a help in the aftermath and probably more relevant and needed than it has been for a long time. That at least should be protected.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

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 prices in the hope of grabbing the business and then conditioning the vendor down.
  • Citing ranges of pricing to buyers that are lower than the vendor will accept in order to lure in buyers or condition down sellers.
  • Failing to disclose that the agent is either selling or buying the property personally or on behalf of a close relative.
The article is a very good read and can be found here.

If you want to find out whether an agent has been the subject of a complaint in the past, or are curious about the things your local agents get up to, go to the Real Estate Agents Authority (a government agency) website here. The link to the database of complaints is here and you can search by the agents name or location (e.g. a search on Christchurch will bring up all complaints recorded against Christchurch real estate agents). Clicking on the case number will provide you with lots of details including a link to the decision.

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.