How not to Repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch Central City. part 142….

  • Locked out of undamaged factory for 1157 days – (since Feb 2011)
  • Do we still own our building????    Now 630 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – only 1197 days to go before we get told if we are going to be compulsorily acquired by the  CCDU. There is now the possibility that this designation will be lifted in July!
  • Innovation precinct Plan Due:  September,  October,  November, December 2013, January, February?   March ?? Nope its to be July 2014!!!!
  • High Street Building amendment details at council. Another request for Further Information regarding a gib ceiling. This one requires an updated Fire Report amendment.  Back to the Engineer.  (Has been at consents since 26 January 2014) I am increasingly suspicious the the CCC has lost ALL our original paper work.
  • Building Consent for my new house 121 working days so far.-I suspect that the building company is not uplifting it until the site is clear.  It has taken Arrow International 9 weeks to get the site clear. Humm that does not bode well!P1000023I have just read an excellent summary on “The Politicisation of CERA” By Barnaby Bennett.  He sums up the issues carefully and clearly.”Around two-thirds of the new central city are government or council-led projects. This is political. The forced purchase of massive parts of the city to make way for high-end apartments (this is what is now happening to the green-frame) is political. The government not opening up the redzone in the city and keeping Cathedral square closed (allegedly because they didn’t want people protesting in the square) is political. CERA re-tweeting the announcements of the National Party is political. I’ve been told by a senior member of the CCDU that the decisions being made at both CERA and CCDU are more about pleasing the minister than making the right decisions for Christchurch. This is political.”This blog is well worth a read. I await his part 2 with interest. Link here:http://www.rebuildchristchurch.co.nz/blog/2014/3/planning-of-new-christchurch-pt-1-the-politicisation-of-cera 
  • On the same theme: It is apparent that there is increasing frustration amongst the building owners and developers in the city about the CCDU/CERA’s ability to proceed forward.
    One city developer has commented: “Overseas developers would be “stupid” to invest in Christchurch because Government officials do not engage with locals wanting a piece of the multibillion-dollar rebuild, a frustrated city developer claims.”   Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/9945920/Officials-ignore-local-investors
  • I also notice that the “Poster Boy” of the Rebuild, has struck a snag.  CERA has ad nauseamtouted Gough as the “saviour” of the city.   Let me just say that the bars and cafes that occupied his land on the aptly named “Strip” targeted young people,  it was an “alcohol fueled zone” To be avoided by any one over the age of 21 at night.  I suspect that he is having trouble finding tenants willing to pay the rentals that he is demanding. Rumour has it that it does not stack up economically. This is no surprise as building costs here are rising by 15% a year.  Peeps in the know guess that he is playing a game with CERA.  I suspect he wants a guarantee of government tenancies in his building.   Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/9954350/The-Terrace-city-development-stallsThere have been a number of interesting articles lately, this one by Rob Hall, talking about the wastefulness of chucking 120 years of infrastructure into the rubbish tip, a subject that is often being discussed here. “The sustainable and economic reuse of building materials and the retention of large masonry structures represents a significant amount of embodied carbon, energy and economic value. If demolished and removed from the CBD, there is an added and ongoing financial and environmental cost to the recovery.”  Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/9826909/Economic-benefit-to-retaining-heritage-buildings

    Also a some what light weight but readable article by Peter Robb, reflecting on his impressions of the city.  Link here.  http://www.smh.com.au/world/total-rebuild-20140317-34way.html

    Rosa Shiels has been talking about the Heritage Buildings left in the city.  She refers to “saving the city’s soul.”  I think the city’s soul is changed forever.  We will need to find a new one. “The list of what has gone is enough to induce dyspepsia and the scale of the physical damage is still bewildering. Road works and detours are plentiful, street signs are few. It is easy to get lost. Giant cranes  scribe the skyline.” Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/9930418/Heritage-update-Saving-our-citys-soul

    I have also recently had my arm twisted and was talked into doing a Deputation to the Christchurch City Council Community Committee, I went in with the objective of telling them the reality of trying to do repairs in  the central city, below is a copy of the speech notes. Sorry, boring I know, but this is for historical purposes only.

    14th April 2014
    Councillors,

    Thank you for granting my request for a Deputation to update you about the Duncan’s Buildings in lower High St, opposite the Poly Jazz school

    Firstly I would like to thank Dave Hinman, the Urban Regeneration Team and the C.C.C. Heritage Team for their support, encouragement and assistance throughout the last 3 years.. This support and encouragement has been gratefully received.

    I request that this Committee formally ensure the CCC Staff are made aware of our grateful thanks and acknowledgement of their efforts.

    Also we wish to acknowledge the grant from the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Fund.  It was used to help pay for the repairs to our party walls.

    I am delighted to see that there has been a CCC submission (draft Heritage and Cultural Recovery Programme) that ” CERA work with Council to establish High Street as a special heritage recovery zone”.
    I would like to formally endorse the High Street section of the submission and thank the Councillors for their efforts in recognizing our special circumstances and ensuring that High Street quickly returns as a fully functioning “Heritage Gem.”

    I would like to talk about the reality of the situation in Lower High St.   I refer only to the Duncan’s buildings, opposite the poly tech.

    Their are 16 Units, some are double units.  There were 9 building owners.  At least 6 + units are now in the hands of the CCDU.

    1. We are in the “Innovation precinct”.  (CCDU cannot still tell us what this means.) We have a designation hanging over our building ie possible acquisition. CERA may be going to lift these in July.  CERA has paralysed progress for over 2 years. Until such a time as some certainty is given these buildings are unsaleable and un tenantable.

    2. There are only 2 building owners actively trying to do repairs.  – 5 building owners unwilling to do repairs/restoration.

    3. We are waiting on a building amendment so we can finish the downstairs area. We have gone “Green” at 73% of NBS.  CERA has accepted this. But…..

    4. Cera refuses to lift the Section 45 “dangerous building” notice because of “unsafe neighbours”.  So all our work over the last 3 years is pointless.

    5. As an aside:  We recently received an email from CCC “Asset Protection”.  The fencing surrounding our buildings belongs to the Ministry of Civil Defence, they wish to recover it.  CCC will now be charging per sq metre, a rental for replacement fencing, plus any parking fees that we may be evading.  This includes charging for any extra security construction fencing etc that may be on the footpath.

    6. On the 13th march I was “summoned” by the CCDU and shown a plan for a “privately developed” lane way at the back of the Duncan’s buildings. If I want to comment, I may put my submission in when it goes out for public submissions in July.  There was  no complimentary traffic plan for High Street.
    An Urban Regeneration Team contact has informed me they were not aware of the plans by CCDU.

    Is there some way that the CCC team can be included in the design of this lane way,, a roading plan needs to be done in conjunction with the lane way proposal.  In my view the lane way should be a service and pedestrian  lane way, not just a pedestrian lane way,  especially seeing we are going to be the tram terminus.

    Note:  Lane way, although in the future it may be necessary and securing the land makes sense.  it does not seem to me to be particularly high on the “must have now” list…. We have a 50m wide strip of bare land behind us already!

    I request this Committee use every means at their disposal to ensure that CCDU work with the Buildings owners and the CCC Urban Regeneration Team to produce a practical and achievable plan that protects and enhances High Streets special heritage qualities.

    7.The CCDU maintains that they will be doing some basic strengthening on the frontages of the Duncans Buildings that they own, 6+?  then on selling them.  Time line – uncertain.

    8.  Because of the uncertainty surrounding the back access to our building I am unable to proceed with the repairs/redesign of the back  of our “lean too” area.  It depends on which plan the CCDU  decides on.

    A Number of observations:

    • The lack of progress with the Mckenzie and Willis site is having a flow on effect.
    • The party wall legislation is hopelessly out of date and in effective.
    • The red stickering of our entire building was unnecessary.  This procedure needs looking at.
    • The proliferation of bars in the area needs to be carefully considered
    • The trees  in the street have to go, they are too big and inappropriate.
    • -I spend a good proportion of every day trying to explain to the tourists what is happening in the street, it is totally incomprehensible to them and us.
    • -This block needs more intervention and the absent building owners need to be forced to act.
    • -The “Innovation” label is misleading.  Why not rename the area ” Start-up zone”  or  something similar and have an “anything goes attitude”.  This would allow the  “bohemians” in the city to create an area with a edgy “grain” to it. ie Encourage the use of containers,  garages, sheds, relocated houses, stalls,  anything that works, put up a public toilet block if you have to,  but please do something. In time it could develop into a fun, grainy, edgy area.

    Thank you for hearing my Deputation.

    This was picked up by Lois Cairns at the Press, so my infamy continues I am afraid.
    Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/9945921/High-St-paralysed-by-Cera-indecision

    The problem is of course that the abridged version lacks much of the detail that is needed to fully understand what is happening here.  Oh well I can’t worry about that!

    Any way:
    Hows the building:

    We are stalled again.

    • I am awaiting the engineers amended Fire Report, for a “Request for further information” from Building consents.  In the last 3 years the fire safety legislation has changed and we need to do an update.  I think it means the addition of smoke detectors and slightly different gib specifications. ( I am not sure but I suspect that the CCC has lost some of our documentation, this is very likely as the January 2011 Amendment that we put in was probably on some ones desk when we had the February 2011 quake  I suspect that it may still be there as they did not re-enter that building.
    •  We are on leak detection work again as we try to work out where the water is coming from!
    •  We have been working on sealing, draft stripping and paint stripping.
    • We have had the solid plasterer on the top of the building doing some weather proofing.  We are awaiting a fine day, for some plasterering work to be done on the frontage.
    • We have fixed the store room ceiling and put the shelving back into the store room to try to make some space.
    • We have been dealing with the insurance company and lawyers.
    •  We are awaiting CERA’s decision about our opening up proposal.  They have not made a decision about the outstanding Section 45 “unsafe neighbours.”  My argument is they have had 3 years warning of what we are doing, now get cracking on doing something.   A CCC  “Urban Regeneration Advisor” has been working on a proposal for containers and fencing.  We are grateful for their support and assistance.
    • I am thinking of opening up as a “house of ill repute”  nothing else is going to bring customers into this area of demolition and neglect.!

    Whoops its raining again.  The leak detection team needs to spring back into action.

     

  • Another day in the life of some crazy building owners in the Central city!
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