How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD…. part 125….

Well miracles do happen…. yesterday 10 September 2013 a digger turned up in the street and started to clear away the remains of the Billens building that has been lying in the street since 7th December 2012. It took less than one day to clean up.  ( Link  The puzzling aspect of this all was, we were told every time we asked why it had not been removed, that it was too dangerous.  Yeah right!  Interestingly it still leaves Laurie Rose’s frontage lying on the footpath where it has been since June 2011) on the left hand side of the picture, there appears to be some sort of deadlock going on here.  Insanity still prevails I am afraid.

This is the Billens building that was burnt down last year.

This is the Billens building that was burnt down last year.

After 10 months of waiting, suddenly it is okay to clean up the rubble. Only off the street of course.

After 10 months of waiting, suddenly it is okay to clean up the rubble. Only off the street of course!

Well funnily enough the same day this happens I get this in the email:
Subject:    Fence line- High Street
Date:    Tue, 10 Sep 2013 13:46:22 +1200
From:    Alex Goscomb , CERA

Good Afternoon,
This email is to inform you that CERA engineers have reviewed the current fencing position and I can advise that the fence line on High Street (129 High Street, Ace Video – 181 High Street, McKenzie & Willis Building) will be moved to allow for pedestrian access on the opposite side (footpath by the CPIT building).
All other rules pertaining to access to your buildings, sent in past correspondence, remains the same; it is only the fence line that is being shifted. This will be moved in the coming days by CERA staff.
Thank you.   Alex

Good heavens some progress.  This mess has been driving the Chch Polytechnic and us insane for over 10 months.  Come on CERA surely you can do better than this???? The number of comments I have been fielding about this issue is embarrassing.  Now how about dealing with Laurie Rose and Graham Spinks.   I also note that today, the 20th September, this fencing has still not been moved yet.

Any way back to buildings.  We have a new rimu floor in the upstairs of our building.  It looks amazing.

New floor upstairs.

New floor upstairs.

We are having a massive effort to try to get the upstairs flat finished by the end of October.

On a totally different subject: Here is one way to get your blood pressure up in the morning.  Get told that the land they have taken of you for peanuts is going to be on sold.  Surprise –  Not!

I heard last night at A CCDU meeting for the key Stakeholders in the City, ( ooh I do have fun don’t  I.) The CCDU will start selling the land that was taken on the East frame, (ostensibly for a Green Frame) will be on sold for high density residential housing.

Interestingly it explains the very low prices that were offered to land owners in that area.  If it is on sold for residential the value that it on sells for will be lower.  My real estate friends tell me that land sold for commercial purposes fetches a higher price ie the owner gets higher rentals than one does with residential housing.

One could get a bit annoyed if you “sold” your land thinking that it was for the aspirational Green Frame, only to find out it is to be used for housing. Not so aspirational I guess.

Anyway this meeting. “A Anchor Projects overview” – a nice glossy document with lots of pretty pictures and graphics, was handed out, giving time lines and budgets.

We suffered the usual talk fest and slide presentation. Some figures showing how unemployment in the city has hardly altered. ( I dispute this), how growth forecast for the city were very positive, the usual “stuff”.  (I was amused by the snorting that the gentleman sitting next to me was doing throughout the presentation,  he was also gritting his teeth. Hay fever perhaps?) I think the purpose of the meeting was to reassure the central city landowners that all was well in the CBD and we should all rush in and rebuild quickly.  As the government was now going to put 1700 staff members back into the area all would be well.

Seems to me that there is no need to rebuild the CBD, every building owner with any sense at all has already built out side the frame area.

One thing that did amuse me was the slick presentation about the Avon river Precinct. It talks about the cleaning up of the Avon River so the eels and fish will come back, how the river will be cleared of slit and planted and the hopeful return of kereru and tuis- all for future generations of course.  Looks lovely and its a great idea. Humm, the problem is that this treatment needs to be given all the way to the sea.  (My guess is 10 kilometers.) The Avon River has been in trouble for many years. It is one of the most ignored resource in the city.  There have been a few attempts by some community groups (Avon Loop springs to mind) to plant grasses and flax along its banks.  The problem is the river takes a lot of run off from surrounding streets and drains, as well as the regular sewerage overflows, the lower reaches have been polluted for years.  Still its a start I guess.

I meet a few old Cera “acquaintances” and I seriously bent their ears, as usual, same subjects as usual, locked up for nearly 3 years, no progress on neighbours, don’t know what is happening in area, no idea what they have planned for us…. etc… I wont bore you.

We were told that “They had not targeted the Innovation Precinct, YET, for acquisition”.  Who knows what that means.

I also note that out of the 16 Units that originally were in the Duncans Block.

  • CERA now owns: 6 units
  • Two owners doing repairs: 4 units
  • Buildings with collapsed frontages: 2 units  -probably sell to CERA
  • Possible sales to CERA : 3 units
  • Owner ran away: 1

Not looking promising!

ho humm, another day in paradise.


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