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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

CCC Inflexibility a Disaster for Quake Hit Avonside

Sam Johnston of the Student Volunteer Army and the Farmy Army's John Hartnell have stated that the inflexible attitude of Christchurch City Council staff got in the way of volunteers wanting to help quake damaged communities. Our resident's group had similar problems after the February 2011 quake.

Despite there being no electricity or telecommunications working, CCC stuck rigidly to its normal procedure that each individual household had to log on and report they had no water/sewerage, or try and get through on cell phones running out of power to the overloaded CCC helpdesk which rarely answered.

We later met with CCC and said that in future emergencies, someone from our community group would ring our CCC community coordinator to report damage on behalf of all householders. We thought we had it pretty well sorted until the June 13 quake. Despite the best efforts of our CCC community coordinator and our MP, we remained without water.

In a last ditch attempt we managed to contact the CCC manager in charge of water supplies but his response was "How did you get this number". He said a tanker had been sent. None of us saw it.

  • We asked him to ring or text us when the next tanker was due so we could tell the couple of hundred affected households and they would be ready and waiting - NO.
  • Can the tanker driver sound the horn so we know he is here - NO.
  • The streets are full of trucks because of infrastructure repairs. Can the driver put a sign on the truck to show it's a water tanker - NO.

A vintage fire engine appeared briefly but we had no idea it was our water supply, next day a water tanker arrived unannounced after dark. People couldn't plan their lives around erratic, unannounced deliveries of water and left to live in unaffected suburbs.

The council needs to improve communications within its own departments, and with community groups. Volunteers here who tried to help their community by liaising with CCC are now so alienated, it's difficult to find anyone willing to take on this role.