About cardmakerschch

A Christchurch business owner who has found dealing with the "powers that be" in charge of the earthquake "recovery" a frustrating and soul destroying exercise. Now over 6 years since the February 2011 quake, signs of improvement are gradually appearing. This is the story of how "not to go about" repairing a destroyed city and a Heritage Building in the city. 60% of the CBD has been torn down. Communication and common sense has been thrown out the window in Christchurch. This has now been going on for over 6 years. It would be nice to see an end to it all. It is starting to look like all the crown Anchor projects are dead ducks and the CBD is a sea of "vacant signage".

Dirty 30’s Heritage saga continues

Oh dear, such emotive wording…  Link Here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/92863275/council-goes-after-central-christchurchs-dirty-30-building-owners-who-are-kicking-the-city-in-the-face

The irony is, as my readers know so well, is that we have been trying for years to get the CCC et al to address these issues.  Sadly, when the CCC finally get around to trying to do something they piss off the very building owners who have actually done something.

I have just been informed, very nicely/apologetically I might add, by CCC Councillor Gough, that we are to be removed from the list.

As it should be.  Now I can go on to more meaningful Heritage work…  I think the toilet block gets roofed today and the plumber is turning up….

hi ho, hi ho, its off to work I go….  sorry this saga is amusing me enormously…. more for its stupidity than for its clever and calculated execution.

4.15 pm update: I have just had official confirmation from the CCC that we are no longer on this list.  I would like to see the list idea continue in a more measured fashion.  As something has to be done with the “runaway” building owners in our area.  List now released 5.15pm: https://ccc.govt.nz/the-council/newsline/show/1708

 

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wall is looking good…

 

CCC Regeneration letter…

News Flash – Hot off the Press:

I have just opened my mail.

When I finished choking on my very nice Sauvignon blanc,  I see that the CCC has sent out a letter telling me and 30 other building owners, that we are holding up regeneration progress in the central city.  They are now going to take a “more proactive role in addressing this problem”.

Our property was identified as “warranting attention” “The Council is keen that there is timely action to resolve the issues concerning your property”.

“From 1 July 2017, normal fees and charges will become payable for the temporary use of a legal road and for traffic management”….    “If discussions between you and the council prove fruitless, the Council and its regeneration partners, LINZ and Environment Canterbury may use other tools in existing legislation to spur progress…..”.

blah blah…

“You will be assigned a case manager whose role is to help you find solutions or offer suggestions for you to pursue”.  Really after 6 plus years?

“The Council is keen to help you bring your property back into use, as this will be of benefit to the city as a whole”.

Surely you jest? this is a joke?  it took them 6 1/2 years to realise that we needed help to sort out our neighbours???  That’s why my lawyer sent LINZ a letter weeks ago, after months of futile phone calls to the CCC.  We are going to request that our neighbours are demolished.  As per the end units of the Duncan’s Buildings.

Signed Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage

Really????

Now correct me if I am wrong but we have talked to the CCC on numerous occasions trying to sort out the problems created by our neighbours..   It was futile.    I have a Resource consent, a Building consent, a traffic management plan and lord only knows what other boxes of Council paper work I have in my lounge…. and we are 3-6 weeks from finishing our toilet block/bunker development.

I have attempted to get the street cleaned up, the leaking water well in the street attended to and the parking issues addressed so my clients can park.  I failed..  mea culpa

Incidentally all of my meetings with the CCC, Regenerate and whatever else they currently call themselves, have been a waste of time, with a couple of notable exceptions. (Thank you Dave H). They leave me angry and frustrated at their lack of understanding of the issues.

I suppose I should ring them and chuck my toys out of the cot, again.  I think I will wait until I can no longer see that red haze.  Cold rage is approaching fast.

Humm, me thinks that the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing and perhaps this is too little too late.

Bad PR!

Link to council article here: https://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/newsline/show/1672

I just sold our 2nd machine today after 50 years of trading, because I got tired of waiting.

Follow up!

ho hum the Press is having some fun:

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/92863275/council-goes-after-central-christchurchs-dirty-30-building-owners-who-are-kicking-the-city-in-the-face

This emotive wording is totally unhelpful.

In some cases  “Dirty 30” is totally justified.

In our case,  Totally unwarranted.  We have been badly let down by both the CCC and Linz on this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Duncan’s Buildings Demolitions…

What is New in Lower High Street?

On Monday 22nd May 2017,  two of the Duncan’s units will be completely demolished. These are the last 2 units at the north end.  The demolition has been authorised by LINZ (Land Information New Zealand). (Non notified Resource Consent?) I understand the reasons for the demolition, namely being that the surrounding land owners are trying to  access and open their newly refurbished buildings. It is their right to have unobstructed access to their buildings.  I have no issues with any of this.

But there are some problems with this demolition.

  • They were easily repairable. It also destroys 2 units in the oldest row of strip shops left in the city. (1905)
  • The demolition is a further needless loss of infrastructure. (I am convinced that the demolition of the cities heritage buildings was advocated by the Current Government to dig them out of a recession and GDP hole).
  • The Historic Places trust and all associated groups have been invisible on this issue.
  • CCC appears to have made no attempts to resolve the issue, unlike the New Regent Street situation where they facilitated negotiations.
  • There is a lack of legislation, or the will to force the building owners to act. ie those who have not done anything in 6 plus years.  CCC refuses to assist us.
  • There is an inconsistency of legislation across the country. ie Parapet tie-back legislation, with subsidies, is in place for the Upper South Island and the lower north island only.

I also note that we do not have unobstructed access to some parts of our building, as a result of the inaction of a neighbouring building owner.  I have now approached LINZ to see if they will facilitate a solution for us.

Oh dear, when will they learn?  For me, it means a further devaluing of the Duncan’s Units historic value.

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From this

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To this….

And from monday 163 and 165 will be leveled to the ground.

This is not the support for the retention of the Duncan’s Units that I was promised.

What a surprise. Not!

Inaccessible city- St Asaph Street- another grumpy meeting…

Well that was interesting.

I was rung at 4.10 to be told there was a meeting of retailers from St Asaph St to be held at the ECAN offices in Tuam Street at 4.30. Present was the CECC, CCC numerous angry retailers.

The meeting of grumpy retailers, bar and cafe owners were deeply unhappy with the “Inaccessible city” design that has been imposed on St Asaph street. All stated the same concerns, road width, lack of short-term parking, curbing, lack loading zones,  constant complaints from their customers about being unable to park anywhere near their destination shop. etc!

One company in the area said that this plan was “idealistic” and takes no account of the fact that the retailers in this area were mainly light manufacturing and destination shops. A very valid comment.

There were 6 business owner in the room, that I know about, who planned or were talking about moving out of the area.

CCC maintains the plan was imposed upon them by CCDU.  hum… I believe it was partially designed by CCC staff…  fake news ? The comment from the CCC was “we had no opportunity to change the plan”.

So far I believe that the new curbing has destroyed 2 sumps and 27 car tyres,  those are the ones that we know about.

CCC says that the roading width is deliberate, to “calm traffic” and that they will not bulldoze the new design but they will tweak it.  ie change parking times from 120mins to ??? give us a few loading zones, sort out the taxi stands and smooth some humps and curbs. The speed limit will be reduced to 30 kmh.  (You can only do 30kmh now!).  I am not sure that any of these measures will deal with the real issues.

CCC maintained that St Johns Ambulance were quite “comfortable” to wait in the traffic on their way to the hospital. It is the “nature of the central city to be caught in traffic”.  Really?  next time I have a heart attack remind me to tell the driver to avoid St Asaph Street.

It will take a brave and honest planner to firstly admit that this design is a huge mistake and then it will take a Very brave council to say that it has to be removed and redesigned.

ho hum,  it is surely interesting in this city.

Rebuilding in the CBD.. Duncan’s Buildings..

What is new in High Street today?

This is worth seeing!  The council planted “Pin Oaks,” if my memory is correct, in 1995-96???  They have become huge – over 15 meters high, they obscure the frontages, are messy, untrimmed and they drop leaves and acorns every where, as well as dripping a sticky sap all over your vehicles and making the buildings dark and dingy.   I am not a fan!

They “unfortunately” needed to be removed, along with the verandahs so that the Peebles Group can prop the facades of the 8 units that they own.  he he…. and hopefully they can replant a more suitable tree this time.  The continued CCC obsession with English oaks baffles me.  (Trees on one side of the street only is the answer!  The other side if I have my way.  Which is unlikely.   I must have a word to Mr Peebles…)

Why would you obscure such a beautiful frontage with such massive trees?

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Before

 

 

 

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After the removal of the trees and verandahs.

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clever fish eye merging by google!

I guess you could call this progress!

Rebuilding in the Christchurch CBD- Duncan’s Building.

What is new in High Street?

The rumour mill has it that the Peebles Group have got their Resource Consent to demolish all the backs of the 8 Duncan’s Units that they own.

I can see considerable engineering difficulties with this plan. One being the seismic gap issue on a joined/shared frontage and the issues of pounding damage.  The technical stuff is:  “If a seismic gap were to be introduced behind the continuous facade, the facade at the gap would shear with earthquake loads perpendicular to High Street, and for earthquake loads parallel to High Street, the facade would probably separate at the gap, and would probably have pounding damage.” 

There are also issues with: the alignment of the frontages, disturbing the new footings that have been put in place post earthquake, party walls, varying standards (NBS) of the facade strengthening, facade realignment and the list goes on….Thanks to Barry Knowles for the detail….

In plain language, it means the frontage will move at different speeds, which is BAD…. it’s called pounding….

There was no building consent lodged with this Resource Consent and one hopes that the CCC consults widely with the relevant engineers.    sigh….

I suspect that the costs of this proposal have not been looked at carefully.  It is nice, quick and easy to demolish the rear of these buildings but the Engineering required to just keep the facades up is out of proportion with the cost of a “wee bit of Brick laying”.  In other words brick laying is a hell of a lot cheaper and simpler.  (There is a serious disconnect between Heritage retention ideals and Financial imperatives. This situation does not look like it is going to be resolved any time soon.)

I did sent a comment to the CCC regarding this issue.  I got no response.  I assume that a Non-notified consent is in the process of being granted.  I find it a bit odd, considering that there are 2 building owners in the same building who are definitely going to be affected.

As I told the CCC:  I have a number of preliminary considerations regarding this application:

  • The inconsistent approach being taken to the Duncan’s Buildings.  I would like to see one consistent solution for all the units left standing.
  • Demolition of the backs is not the best long-term outcome for the units.  The Duncan’s Units, along with New Regent St, is the last and oldest “strip row” of shops left in the city and this proposal will significantly devalue their Heritage value.
  • The Peebles Group maintains that the “High Street facade as the only portion of the building that can be feasibly saved”  and having only “minor effects”.  This is patently incorrect. They remark that “Overall, the proposal will have no more than minor effects in terms of heritage values”.
  • By demolishing all barring the frontage we lose all the Heritage fabric of the Party Walls and the rather quirky and classic  lean-to character of the backs.
  • Party walls are a major part of the Heritage Fabric. There are 4 party walls at the north end that have already had repairs done on them and strengthening put in place. These could be easily repaired, further strengthened and restored and the backs rebuilt in 2 cases.
  • I am surprised that the CCC – Council Heritage advisors are “supportive” of this proposal, as this proposal will significantly “impact on the Heritage values” of the Duncan’s Buildings.  (It explains their lack of comment on this issue, ie they have been conspicuous by their absence and silence).
  • This proposal is not the only feasible and financially viable solution available as both David Collins and I have proved.

All I can say is that they better not ring me again to hassle me about demolishing a crappy brick wall…

ho hum..

Note: I have no beef with Richard Peebles, he has been a “breath of fresh air” in the street.  I just don’t like this part of his plan!  But I would say that…

I see that work has started demolishing the verandahs last week!.

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The table and chairs is our lunch room…

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Moving on!!

  • I am looking forward to the demolition of the unit next door. The new building owner is very pro active regarding demolition!  ye ha….. He is going to be a bit of a challenge for the CCC, but seeing that they have granted demo consent to the Peebles Group, he is in a good position to get his down as well.
  • Our toilet block is starting to appear from the rubble…. Even the brick wall is looking good! The final steel columns are in, it has only taken 6 years to get them in.  It is a bit of a stop – start rebuild which is frustrating, but really it makes no difference.

    IMG_20170421_171439028_HDR

    New toilet block appearing from the rubble.

Well, now that Gerry Brownlee is no longer in charge of the rebuild and now Minister of Foreign Affairs…  (Pray to what ever God you believe in, for strength and hope for early elections) .. bet you he goes on the party list so that he does not have to stand against Raf Manji’s in Fendalton).  We now have a new Rebuild Minister, Nicky Wagner… In Christchurch she is known as Nicky… Who……   She has been invisible in the city for 6 years.

same old same old.

Link here:   http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/91868470/cabinet-reshuffle-gerry-brownlee-no-longer-canterbury-rebuild-boss

I’m off to bugger around on face book….. and maybe paint some walls and shift some bricks….

ps My house looks like a house!  progress….

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Derelict Buildings and the Christchurch CBD…

What’s new in High Street?

News Flash….

After waiting for 6 years,  our neighbouring building owner has finally agreed to put his building on the market.

It has gone from this:

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22.2.2011 15 minutes after the earthquake.

 

To This:

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135 High Street, 6 years later!

Yeah ha….

With a bit of  “discussion” we have managed to get a better outcome for everyone.  (There was no personal feud here, we wish the previous owner all the best, his circumstances were difficult to say the least).

The new local owner (not us) is an excellent choice and we are looking forward to the imminent demolition of this eyesore.  I believe this is already under discussion.

It’s a win win!  A very rare occurrence these days in Christchurch land deals.

The new owner, who as you will see, I have not named yet, is planning a new building.  But first the demo will occur.  Our units will look a lot better, some fencing can be removed and it will make the leasing of our building considerably easier.

My guess is we will get a modern frontage and rear, that will look amazing wedged between us old “dungers”.

A pity that it had to take 6 years, with no help from the “powers that be”.   Useless bunch governments and councils.. but I would say that.

One down, one to go, on to the other side now.

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This owner has insurance problems, and has done no work since 2010. 141 High Street