How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD

  • Do we still own our building???? Now 796 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – Designation to be in place until 2022. ( ie They can take the building any time between now and 2022)
  • High Street Building amendment details still at the council. Since January 2014. I am trapped between the CCC building consents Department and the Engineer. They are arguing about: “Justify that the new steel members (columns) will not have a detrimental effect on the stability of the party walls in a fire”.  This is plainly idiotic.  Do you want us to strengthen or not??

So whats new in High Street?

The Billens Building and Mckenzie and Willis remain in the same condition as before. Here is a pretty picture of the back.  This is what I look at every day. Cheerful eh?

The Back of McKenzie and Willis and Billens building.

The Back of McKenzie and Willis and Billens building.

So no progress here.

The 7 shops owned by CERA have had nothing done to them for 4 years now.

Here is a pix of the back. I have been told that :“Further design work for the partial and full strengthening options of these properties is required and we are in the process of procuring these services. Following this work a decision will be made on the level of strengthening that will be undertaken.”   Pigs fly!

CERA owns these 7 units, No progress here.

CERA owns these 7 units, No progress here.

I was invited last week, to the opening of the “High Street Transitional Project”   I was happy to attend.  It perhaps should be more correctly labeled the “Upper High Street Transitional Project”.  It was great to see the sheep.  They add a wee bit of humour to a hopeless situation. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10541203/Forget-traffic-cones-we-have-sheep-cones

Sheep Road Cones

Sheep Road Cones

It has been suggested that our end of the street could do with some livestock as well, and what better than some “Broken sheep for a broken street?”

Broken sheep for a Broken street!

Broken sheep for a Broken street!

Sheep would be appropriate as we have plenty of fencing to keep them in and no traffic to damage them further, They will not escape as nothing much else has in the last 4 years.

It is an irony that CERA/CCDU/CCC  and all the other “powers that be” are putting so much energy into: water way/river projects, parks, gap filler, sheep cones, planter boxes, sculptures, artworks et al, but at the end of the day every interaction that I have with them leaves me still no better off.  I get no resolution, no answers, no meaningful assistance. Frustrating eh!  Just maybe they do not have a clue about what would really make a difference?

Perhaps we could begin commercial grazing?

Perhaps we could begin commercial grazing?

Onwards!

I have had to do another submission to the CCC over  “part 2” of the roading plans for Manchester and Tuam streets.  This is token consultation, as the CCC is firing the bullets for CCDU,  there was a noticeable lack of information on which to make a judged decision.

No one else in our end of the street bothered to submit anything, as far as I know.  There was not a lot of point they told me.  Still I am trying to keep them “honest.”

I have also been trying to get some information on the “Public Realm Network Plan”.  This interesting document is firmly in the hands of CERA/CCDU at the moment.  I believe that they are under “consultation” over this document.  Their idea of consultation is notional at the best.  As far as I can work out the CCC knows little about it, neither has any business owner in my circle seen it. The reason I want to see said document is because it seriously affects my development options for the rebuild of the rear of our building.  We have waited 4 years now. Why are we waiting…….???  They really do not want businesses to remain in the CBD do they?  Where is their commercial sense????   hello “Ground control to Major Tom is there any one out there” ????

It looks like another case of CERA/CCDU consultation that you have when you are not consulting.

It is probably sitting on Gerry’s desk.  Like all the other Christchurch issues.  He seems incapable of making a rapid decision.  One wonders why he has been given another portfolio (Defence) as well as dealing with Christchurch recovery.  (Than again he is very defensive!)
I spotted this editorial the other day.  Spot on!!    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/editorials/10531202/Editorial-Gerry-should-focus-on-one-job

Secret Squirrel is alive and well!

Secret Squirrel is alive and well!

On the subject of commercial business in the city. In a conversation with a large building owner I was told that the city has run out of commercial tenants willing to lease premises. The rents/outgoings are too high and the economy here is so depressed that most operators prefer to remain in their garages and back yards rather than step up into high risk rentals in the CBD. Combine this with the fact that many offices and head offices have pulled out of Christchurch. This partially explains why the Cashel street/High street intersection looks like a wasteland on a busy Saturday afternoon – No one is bothering to rebuild as they have no tenants secured for the developments, therefore no funds secured from the banks to rebuild with).

Cashel Street near High Street on a busy saturday.

Cashel Street near High Street on a busy saturday.

The other issues being very carefully not discussed by the “powers that be” here is the continued population loss. Although the figures look okay, with only a 7000 drop, what is happening is that as the 40-50 years olds get their houses fixed and their family issues sorted, they are pulling out of the city.  (This is noticeable amongst my acquaintances). These are people with middle/upper tier management and trade skills. They are gradually pulling out, as people recognise that the situation here is hopeless. They are being replaced by construction workers.

It was sad to see in the ChCh Press an article about the loss to the city of economist Eric Crampton.  His views are pragmatic and sensible. It is a pity CERA did not bring him onto their team and listen to him.  “As a classical liberal, Crampton believes the state’s role in our lives should be as limited as possible”.
He believes that the government’s response to the earthquakes, was an unhappy combination of regulation and deregulation. Damn right he is too.  You only had to be unfortunate enough to be trapped in the CBD red zone to know what hells we were put through. While those building owners 100 metres away,  outside the red zone, did not have to face and endure.

“He has a lot to say about how the post-quake period has been handled”  Read his chapter in the book “Once in a Life Time”.   (Free range Press) It is an eye opener.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10390141/Outspoken-economist-leaves-ChCh

Ho humm it’s a beautiful day, I am warm for the first time in 3 months, the birds are singing and they have dug a hole for my house foundations.  Some one in their infinite wisdom has decided that we need a 7500 litre storm water tank.  Great! I am going to get a new swimming pool as well! Morons….. This is overkill……

A swimming pool!

A swimming pool!

 

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6 thoughts on “How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD

  1. It’s only last Sunday night I was rolling my eyes at the latest juvenile addition of the “sheep” and the woefully inadequate way that they were fixed to the pavement. How much did someone get paid for executing that bright idea?

    Reminds me now of “cow-tipping”

    Keep smiling! If you don’t you will end up the same as the sick f**ks at CERA and CCC 🙂

    • Nah, I can’t end up like CERA gnomes, they get paid, I do this for free.
      I think the sheep (and gap filler) is a attempt to make it seem that something is happening in the city. Unfortunately we know better!

  2. I had a good laugh at the image supplied by the CCC showing a photo shopped tram on High St which is on the wrong side of the road is magically not even on it’s tracks.

    Also now that Maggie Barry is now minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage perhaps we will see some floral arrangements down High St along with the hi-viz sheep to distract people from the mess down lower High St.

    • Ahhh… the wonders of Photoshop. (I am not good at using it, I need to up skill!)
      Funny you should talk about the floral arrangements down High St, I have just been “given” 2 planter boxes. They are proving popular with the students as they double up as seats. But I am afraid the lower end of the street is still under CERA control and the CCC has no control over what happens here. I suspect that the new minister, Ms Barry will avoid us like the plague. As did minister Finlayson. Its just too hard for them and they hate my snarling and gripping! lol

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