How Not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD…. part 139

  • Locked out of undamaged factory for 1100 days – (since Feb 2011)
  • Do we still own our building????    Now 573 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – only 1254 days to go before we get told if we are going to be compulsorily acquired by the  CCDU.
  • Innovation precinct Plan Due:  September,  October,  November, December 2013, January, February?  Rumour has it not till March !!!!!
  • Building Consent for my new house 80 working days so far.- rumours are its close. Humm… too many RFI’s?  (Requests for further Information)  Hope the Building company knows what they are doing with the foundations!
  • By the way, I am still waiting for CERA to respond to our Detailed Engineering Evaluation and to pull back The Civil Defence fencing from our frontage and give us unhindered access.  (30 days so far. And because its CERA’s standard tactic to count weekends as days I will continue this practice.)
  • High Street Building amendment details at council for 22 days. One minor RFI about “do I realise we will have to pay more money”. Yeah Right, what a surprise!

Still waiting……

Cera’s plans for the CBD Doughnut!

High street on a good day!

High street on a good day!

An Interesting comment by ex minister Philip Burdon last week on the structure of CERA

“The Cera (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) structure has been agreed by all as conceptually appropriate and correct and the expectations of decisive leadership were high.
Three years later it is universally seen as having failed to deliver and it is necessary to reflect on why. Its primary mandate was to streamline bureaucracy and accelerate decision-making.Three years later it has become the antithesis of exactly that. Its most conspicuous failure has been its well-intended ambition to kick-start and accelerate the revival of the CBD.

Sadly we now have what is colloquially referred to as the doughnut effect, resulting in a distracted and uncoordinated development taking place around the CBD and a conspicuous absence of any development in the heart of the city.”

Interesting that finally some one in authority has the interests of the city at heart enough to stick his neck out and say something about what is going on!  If my memory serves me correctly this is the second time he has spoken out. Brave man, last time he got his head chopped off by Mr Brownlee. (A tactic he has employed over the last 3 years if he does not like what you are saying.)  Go for it Mr Burdon, what you are saying is necessary.

It has been my week for more minor administrative annoyances:

Well,  this could get your blood pressure up!

21st February 2014.  1 day short of 3 years from the 22nd February 2011 earthquake and the Christchurch City Council has come up with a new money-making proposal.

Charging for the footpaths and road way spaces that we have protective contractor fencing and a rubbish skip on.

Not content with letting CERA/CCDU treat the building owners like crap for 3 years, the Christchurch City Council (CCC) is now getting in on the act.

(I had wondered why I had had a very weird phone call from “The Property Group”  at 11.45 today, wanting my address and email.  Surprising, what is wrong with their records?)

Incidentally, they refused to indicate to me what they wanted.  Now I know, gutless idiots, hiding behind a face-less email.  Maybe if they picked up the phone and talked to us we might actually make some progress.

After 3 years the CCC must have decided that it was their turn to inconvenience us, so they have thought up a new form of annoyance and sent this email, that also has an added bonus of making money for them. And lets accept that the CCC is broke and they need all the funds that they can find.

Is this the best use of time these highly paid bureaucrats can think off???  Picking off one of the few building owners trying to do some repairs? In a street that is obviously closed and will be partially closed for at least 2-3 more years?

Here is their latest missive. It comes complete with paper work for us to fill out,  of course!  Not a happening thing!

Date: Friday, 21 February 2014


RE: Arts Printers Building – Cardmakers 139 High St

It has been identified that fencing has been placed at this address without the consent of the Christchurch City Council Transport & Greenspace Unit.

Since the removal of the CERA controlled cordon, the management of the use of public space has been returned to the Council. As a result all activities in the public space must now comply with our policies and by-laws.

The fencing currently installed around your property belongs to the Ministry of Civil Defence. The Ministry is in the process emoved.of recovering this fencing. This leaves the responsibility of protecting the public from any hazards on private property up to the property owner.

The Christchurch City Council Traffic and Parking By-Law 2008 under Section 20 requires that approval be sought and consent given by the Christchurch City Council Transport & Greenspace Unit prior to being placed in the legal road.

In order to occupy the legal road you must apply for Temporary Use of Legal Road approval and then provide your own fencing for your site.

Please note that should you choose to apply for a Temporary Use of Legal Road then the following additional conditions will apply:

Pursuant to Section 20 of the Christchurch City Council Traffic and Parking bylaw 2008.

The monthly rental as per an approved ‘Temporary Use of Legal Road’ application will be $7.50 per metre squared per month incl GST from a minimum of $58.50 incl GST in addition to any parking fees for occupying time limited or pay and display car parks.  You will be invoiced monthly until we are advised by you that your fencing has been removed.

Once the fencing has been erected and placed, a Christchurch City Council (CCC) representative will be sent out the following day to confirm the use and/or measurements.  Any changes in the use or measurements as per the approved ‘Temporary Use of Legal Road’ application, the CCC must be informed.

The following ‘Conditions of Compliance’ are additional to the ‘Conditions of Approval’ on the ‘Temporary Use of a Legal Road’ application.


1.5 metres of clear asphalt footpath past your hoarding must be maintained at all times.*
2.0 metres of clear asphalt footpath past your hoarding must be maintained at all times in the CBD.*
Hoardings must be clearly marked with fluorescent paint or reflective tape for visibility at night
Approval letter must be readily available on site

*Note: This approval is conditional upon obtaining a Council approved Traffic Management Plan should the minimum clear footpath not be able to be maintained.

If you wish to discuss this process further please get in contact with our call centre on 03 941 8999 or email

Kind Regards,

Peter McDonald
Senior Technical Engineer-Road Assets
Christchurch City Council
Transport & Greenspace Unit.

So whats all this about????

It is about the fencing Civil Defence erected closing off the street, it is also about the rubbish skip we have on the street, on public land and the extra contractor security fencing that we have had around our frontage on the footpath.

We had left our own contractor fencing in front of our building because the security in the street is SO APPALLING, as to be non-existent, I am constantly chasing out of the contractor enclave: tourists, drunks, push bikes, skateboarders, photographers, children, absent-minded drivers and anything else that wants to crawl in there.

Some of them 2 legged weasels, many wearing fluro vests.

Most of the street lights in the area do not work, the footpaths are covered in debris and glass, the buildings are vacant and abandoned, the trees are covering the buildings, oak leaves block the drains and gutters and the acorns feed the possums, rats and paradise ducks. I am not sure what the rabbit I saw the other day eats, I am not up on rabbits!  ( Hot off the press, Brother Joe has told the council about the lights and I noticed last night that some have been fixed!  Nice one Joe!)

Current state of the street!

Current state of the street!

There is still earthquake rubble on the street 3 years to the day of the 22nd of February 2011. And I am still paying rates…..

Cera will and has not taken any responsibility for security, nor will the CCC, nor will the other building owners.  And the Ministry of Civil Defence wants to remove its “security” fencing!  Given that the other land owners have not contributed to safety in the street for 3 years and that they have made no progress, this removal of the fencing is a bit of a joke. Especially seeing that the crown owns a good proportion of them. Go bill them they created this situation.

As you all know the “powers that be” have allowed this situation to develop, partially because they have not put enough pressure on the landowners but also by slapping the “Innovation precinct designation” on the land and buildings.  4 more years of uncertainty about the ownership of the land is a hopeless situation for the land owners to be in.

I will spell it out in very simple terms.

  • 1. If I wished to sell the building, would you buy it and make alterations and move in knowing that in 4 years the CCDU might acquire it? The answer has to be NO.
  • 2. As a tenant, would you move into a building that you know may be acquired in 4 years and you have to move out? The answer has to be NO.
  • 3. Would you move into a street that is going to take at least another 3-5 years to recover and will be a contractor work zone for years?  The answer is NO.

Unfortunately, they can not see it.  Lets face it, if even my simple mind can work this out, they must be pretty thick!

So I assume, from the tone of this missive,  that we are to be charged for using the space under the rubbish skip and the use of the footpath.  Given the fact that they have been charging me rates for 3 years whilst preventing me from entering the building, as well as supplying no services, I think I can be quite justified in being somewhat incensed.

And so you want to inconvenience us just a wee bit more???

Oh well, Fine! I have already removed the fencing and the skip goes today!  I am not giving you a penny.

Cleaned up frontage

Cleaned up frontage

The chances of the other building owners coughing up for fencing (except for the CCDU/government) is pretty limited, so I will watch this situation develop with interest.

Ps rumour has it that the CCDU now owns 7 units in the street, I am trying to confirm this.

Could you tell me though? Who is responsible for boarding up Graham Spink’s derelict building at 135, Laurie Rose’s fallen frontage, the globe building and sorting out the mess that is Mckenzie & Willis. Try and get it sorted!

Use your brains, and get off our backs and do something useful. Like forcing the recalcitrant land owners to act.

You might also like to remember that we have no usable back access to the Duncan’s buildings, (because some silly sod has fenced off the empty land!) The Duncan’s Buildings take up the full footprint of the land.  We have nowhere else to put our skips. Maybe we can leave the debris laying in the street like some of the other building owners? Including the CCDU.

How irritating! How normal!

ps Vodafone via Chorus can still not supply me with a phone line into the building.  It is getting annoying now, as we roll on into 3 weeks. And the T stick is very slow!


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