High Street again…7 years on

So What’s new in High Street.

  • Work on the Peeble’s units has ground to a halt,  It has been over 4 weeks since any progress has been made.  I have not had a clear answer as to the reasons? At least they have some of the supports in place is the only consultation I can think off.  (I have been told to think positive by my Heritage friends….   he he).

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  • We are trying to get our Code of Compliance paperwork in order.  It is a nightmare of paper……  a WIP I am afraid.
  • we have properly functioning toilets for the first time in 7 years….
  • I had an unexpected/unannounced visit from The City Council.  3 people are required for this.  Same shit different day.  Sorry “can’t help with the issues you face”.  (That’s funny you sorted out New Regent Street?)  “The Legislation has not been extended to Christchurch” to allow CCC to deal too recalcitrant land owners.  They actually admitted that the Decision by Minister Nick Smith not to extend the legislation to Christchurch is “extremely unhelpful”.  Sounds to me like they should lobby Nick Smith, he took no notice of my pleas for assistance in March this year.
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Next door “neighbour” on the North side

 

  • We have sold our 3rd piece of machinery, a guillotine, it is off to Auckland.  Interesting is it not that the loss of infrastructure in Christchurch has benefited Auckland?  (This occurred in Kobe, Japan after the earthquakes there in 1995.  If my memory serves me correctly Tokyo benefited. The vultures circle…..)  This stuff is not coming back and negatively impacts on the local economy.   Well the Government knows best….
  • Rumour has it that further down High St, Barry Watson has given up trying to save the frontage of his demolished shop in High Street.  I believe that the section is coming up for sale.
  • Laurie Rose’s 2 Duncan’s Units are now down.  This was not really necessary,  I suspect that it is a decision that was ill-conceived and not financially sound.
  • The Billen’s rebuild is steaming ahead.  Good news!
  • The TMR (The Monday Room)  has reopened in David Collin’s units a few doors down from us.  Their access is “challenging” to say the least.    Brave…..                    Note in the pix below the 2 end units of the Duncan’s Block are gone.  The “Billens Building” is taking shape on the right hand side.

 

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  • “Little High Eatery” on the Old McKenzie and Willis site is up and running.  It is humming.  I have noticed that it is negatively affecting the other eateries’ in the area.  Sooner or later this situation is going to push some of the eateries over the edge. (There are too many and they are too expensive to eat at on a regular basis.)
  • There is a further loss of retailers occurring in the area.  But no one wants to talk about that issue.  Council knows best. yea right…. that’s why the central city is full of cafes and bars,  brand name fashion shops and not much else.   Interesting that I  and most of the other residents in Christchurch have not bothered going into the CBD for many months.  (I believe the figure is 80%)
  • We are having on going parking issues at our end of the street.  Not helped by the local builders using the area as free parking and the lack of interest from council.

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  • I went to a presentation given by the CCC last night regarding:   “The Future of Heritage in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula”.  Yes, yes, all very laudable and nice. BUT the reality is that there is a massive disconnect between all these pretty words and pictures and the reality of the situation off the few remaining Heritage owners in the city.  Given the fact that we are called the “dirty 30”  I would say that wouldn’t I? ( This is obviously still annoying me…..).    I did get one comment that I had not done an updated blog post!   (Sorry been distracted as you will see below.)

Late News:

I had a wry laugh at this one.  The Press published an article about the Darby’s site in Manchester St.  After 7 years CERA/CCDU/et al have “handed” the site back to him as they can not reach agreement regarding the price.  One comment refered  to the land as “Blighted”.

I sympathise with Mr Darby.  We are Blighted in the same way.

Link Here:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/95592930/land-useless-after-government-pulls-out-of-south-frame-purchase-owner-says

ho-Hum,  ahh well… its stopped raining AND a drum roll please…. I have moved into my rebuilt house……!!!!   Whew 7 years is too long…

Landscaping and paving the sea of mud is not covered under “policy”.  But all in all, my grateful thanks to the Southern Response Project Manager that picked up this rebuild when it turned to custard and got it sorted!  I know they get a lot of flak but I will raise my hand and say job well done!

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A sea of Mud

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Earthquake Strengthening legislation -one rule for Wellington and for us?

“The Government is using emergency powers introduced after the November 2016 quake to require the work in Wellington, Lower Hutt, and Blenheim, where there is a heightened risk of an aftershock, to force 300 building owners to strengthen within a year”.

  • “The Government announced it would foot half of each repair bill to help building owners with costs, with the “tie-back” of facades – which involves anchoring them to the main building – estimated to cost between $20,000 and $30,000″.  Christchurch has have been requesting assistance with these issues for 6 years and has been ignored. There also needs to be changes to tax legislation (strengthening needs to be tax-deductible). There needs to be a discussion on how to pay for the full strengthening needed and there also needs to be a discussion on which buildings should be “saved”.
  • “The building work will be exempt from resource and building consents, providing the work is overseen by a qualified engineer”.   We personally were held up with our strengthening for over 18 months trying to get building consent. There needs to be better communication with Council’s and a better understanding of the issues. ie fewer obstacles to strengthening.
  • “Should owners refuse to do the work, councils will have the power to undertake strengthening and recover costs from the owners, with a fine of up to $200,000 possible for continued refusal”.  Really??????   We are surrounded by damaged and  un-strengthened buildings and have been for 6 years and STILL no action is being taken. This needs to be addressed. Neighbouring building owners should not be penalised by the inaction of a few. How about the Christchurch City Council address our issues with derelict buildings?  In your dreams….

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Surrounded on both sides by derelict and unrepaired buildings.  The threat of a  $200,000 fine would certainly force my neighbours to make some decisions about repairing their buildings – or selling them to some one more proactive. But this decision does not apply in Christchurch…..

Forgive me for being irritated but this smacks of politics in an election year. And the irony is that none of these measures apply to Christchurch.  One rule for Wellington and no rules in Christchurch?  One could speculate as too why Wellington gets preferential treatment.  These measures are long overdue. It still does not resolve the Engineering issues, (varying strengthening methods and varying assessments standards by different Engineer’s, nor does it assist Building owners to understand what is involved in the strengthening work or give any guidance on how to proceed with it).

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith should extend this legislation. He has not protected all Building owners equally.   I will stop while I am ahead.  This makes me incandescent with rage. (I have sent Nick Smith an email requesting that he extends the $200,000 fine’s policy to Christchurch,  I am not holding my breath.  After 6 years I would be very foolish to hold out any hope of a speedy resolution to our issues. My guess is that they will come back with the hoary old chestnut answer off oh “you do not understand the Insurance issues at play here”.  Bull s…   answer….).

It should not have taken 6 years for these issues to be addressed. And at this stage it is only in the central New Zealand region.  It needs a nation wide policy. The Powers that be are still asleep at the wheel.

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/nz-earthquake/88752734/new-earthquake-laws-could-force-building-owners-to-strengthen-within-a-year

Ho Hummmm… It’s a beautiful day, I think I will go and do a bit of unpaid work and go “Buggerising on Facebook” as Minister Brownlee puts it.

PS.

I sent a letter to Minister Nick Smith a few days ago requesting that fines be imposed on Christchurch Building owners who have abandoned their buildings, to the detriment of the surrounding building owners.   Copies below. I await an answer with interest.

 

From: Card Makers [mailto:mail@cardmakers.co.nz]
Sent: Friday, 27 January 2017 8:59 a.m.
To: Nick 4 Nelson
Subject: re earthquake legislation.
 
Dear Mr Smith,
 
Please extend your earthquake legislation to the Christchurch City Area, the part most in need is the ability to fine reluctant building owners.
 
 I have attached a link to my latest blog regarding this legislation,  to show you our plight.
 
https://cardmakerschc.wordpress.com/
 
 I apologise for being angry but you have ignored the situation in Christchurch for 6 years.
 
We are trapped between 2 damaged buildings  and the neighbouring building owners refuse to take action.  It has meant that we are unable to reopen our shop, we have had no wages for 6 years and our earthquake strengthening work was a pointless waste of time and money.
 
 
 Why have you not addressed this issue? Please extend the $200,000 fine for inactivity to Christchurch, as our situation is dire. And please make sure that the CCC uses this legislation.
 
Yours Sincerely
 
Nicky Arts
Christchurch
 

Reply received:  27.1.17

Dear Nicky
 
On behalf of Hon Dr Nick Smith, Minister for Building and Construction, thank you for your correspondence of January 27 2017 regarding the recent Government announcement requiring some building owners to secure unreinforced masonry parapets and facades in areas of heightened risk following the Kaikoura event.
 
Your email has been placed before the Minister and you may expect a reply in due course.
 
Kindest regards
 
Kris McGillivray | Ministerial Secretary | Office of Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Building and Construction | Minister for the Environment | MP for Nelson
5.3 Executive Wing Beehive | Parliament Buildings | Wellington 6160 | New Zealand

Quake Prone Buildings….again or is that still….

There has been a flurry of articles recently about quake prone buildings.  I hope some action will be taken as a result of these articles.  So far,  I think that this issue is way too hard for the powers that be in Christchurch.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/87089167/Calls-for-faster-action-on-quake-prone-buildings

also:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/87224456/new-earthquake-legislation-could-see-more-yellowstickered-buildings-in-wellington

I thought that the situation in Christchurch and now Wellington would have given some impetus to resolving these issues. But…

I saw an excellent summary by John Goddard (John Goddard is an Associate in Morrison Kent’s dispute resolution teama few days, it is the simplest to understand summary of some of the issues that I have seen.  So far no one is listening.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/nz-earthquake/87304877/john-goddard-confusion-and-lack-of-clarity-around-assessing-quakedamaged-buildings

As a building owner in Christchurch, we have been badly let down by the current mishmash of legislation.  As you know, we are trapped between two red stickered, unsafe buildings and have been for 6 years.    It seems to me that after 6 years a better, more robust mechanism must be put in place. Especially for the smaller building owners who are unable to fund repairs. (Loans, rates rebates, time limits, compulsory acquisition are all solutions to these problems…).  The government and the CCC have been asleep at the wheel on this issue for 6 years.  ( The CER act that they put in place after the quakes apparently does not appear to cover the eventuality of abandonment).

Nine to noon was this morning talking about this issue:  http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201828381/more-building-checks-ordered-for-cbd

So what is new in High St:

  • Our building amendment for an 18sqm toilet block has come through.  The Engineer has been holding this one up.  Sigh, he is a busy man.  We start the rebuild in February.
  • Some one in their infinite wisdom has removed all the red, water filled, safety barriers from the front of the damaged Duncan’s Buildings.  That’s weird, the buildings must have fixed themselves overnight?  Not.P1000328.JPG
  • They still have not finished the tar sealing the new berm a few meters away from our door.  They have had about 5 attempts at it. Typical.
  • The CCC has approved removal of 5 trees in front of the Duncan’s Buildings to allow for facade propping. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/87608488/five-trees-to-be-removed-from-central-christchurch-street-to-allow-for-building-repairs

Have a wonderful Christmas.  May it be shake free…

P.s. My house is appearing above the ground! ye haP1010225.JPG

 

 

Business waits years for quake damage to neighbours to be fixed…

Oh dear, my infamy continues.

A well-balanced report by Rachel Graham  A Christchurch Reporter, discussing the issue of abandoned and unrepaired buildings.  It is rather topical at the moment due to the “slow train wreck” that is the Wellington CBD. 

I confess to a snort of irritation as I listened to Connal Townsend say that “The Arts situation is extremely rare”.  “Normal process is in place”.  ha ha…  he is out of date. I can name 8 buildings within 1 km off me  with the same issue. Maybe he should come and see me?

Director of the Greater Christchurch Group within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Kelvan Smith,: “Christchurch City Council also has powers and functions under the Building Act 2004. It can require building owners to undertake works under section 124 of the Building Act.”  Really?  you could have fooled me!  The question would have to be asked as to why it is not being used?  We had a meeting with the Operational Policy and Quality Improvement Manager at the CCC  to be told that they had no power to sort this?  lies, lies and more lies…

CCC: unavailable for comment.  No surprises here….

The Law is an ass.

Audio Link Here:  http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201825514/christchurch-business-waits-years-for-neighbours-to-be-fixed

Article Here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/319048/five-years-on-‘we’re-a-dead-end’

ho hum.  I’m off to do some real work, rather than “buggerise around on Facebook all day” as our earthquake Minister Brownlee so eloquently put it.

Another beautiful day in Christchurch.

Connal Townsend, Kelvin Smith and the CCC.  They need to get out of their offices and come and see the reality.

Wellington edition of Shaky Town Blues, a guide to abandoned and derelict buildings. Part 191

How to survive being surrounded by derelict Buildings and Fencing in the Christchurch CBD especially written for Wellington Retailers,  How to cope with Derelict and Abandoned buildings and what to expect!

This is a survival guide for SME ‘s (Small and medium-sized enterprises) written by a building owner in the Christchurch CBD, for Wellington, Kaikoura and Blenheim retailers, based on our experience.

This follows on from a blog written in January 2015.  Building Owners Guide to Red Stickering.   Which is still very relevant.  https://cardmakerschc.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/in-memory-of-four-years-of-our-lives-lost-to-insurance-and-building-issues-in-christchurch/

After 6 years we thought we would cast some light on the inefficiency of the “Powers that be” in dealing with building abandonment issues.

First the back ground.  You are a business trying to survive and trade in a building that is surrounded by derelict buildings and fencing, in a now dead-end street.  You are the only building open in that section of street.  P1000572.JPG

Basic ground rules:

1.  Do not expect any help or assistance from anyone.   Your local Council’s will not know that you exist and Government officials ( CERA/CCDU/Regenerate/Otakaro or what ever alphabet soup they are currently using)  will be invisible.  (There will be the odd exception to this but they are few and far between, do not count on it.)

2. The fencing surrounding you will be put in place with great precision and fanfare.  That is the last time the “powers that be” will inspect it.  ( After 6 years it will be a mess and leak like a sieve. It becomes a looters magnet).

3. There will no security arrangements put in place.  Either for you or the derelict buildings. Alarm your building now.  The abandoned buildings are a “looters magnet”.

4.  There will be no infrastructure repairs done in your area, in our case for 6 years.

5. No contractor will want to work on your building. Especially if it is a Heritage Building.

6. There will be no foot traffic, for 6 years…. and still counting.

7. You will have No communication from anyone in power.  You will have no idea what is happening, remember at all times:  Say it after me:  “The powers that be” do not communicate”.

8. You will never find out who is in charge!  Think of it as a game.  Otherwise you will go insane. They will all duck for cover when you ring and they will dump your call for help as soon as they can.

9. Repeated attempts to get the other building owners to act, including the government (they purchased buildings in High Street and did nothing for 3 years ), will be ineffective and futile. Save your energy for a battle that you can win.

10.  There is no legislation in place for this situation. Otherwise I would not be writing this for you would I?
The government can fine a farmer for not wearing his helmet on a motor bike,  as a Health and Safety issue, but they can not stop a building owner from abandoning a dangerous building for 6 years.

11. There will be no mail delivery, rubbish collection or street sweeping,  for 6 years..  and counting.

12.  It is only possible to stay in your building if you have a niche customer base.  If your business relies on foot traffic close now.  It is retail suicide to stay open if you are dependent on foot traffic!  The public do not want to risk coming to your business if they feel unsafe in the area.  The Best advice I can give you is get web based as quickly as you can.  Working from home can work in certain instances, but it really is not worth the effort.  Close down and get another job.  (This is what we should have done).

13.  Do not be surprised if they close the street completely because they do not know that you are still there.  ie for road works  because they want  convenient car park.etc.

They do not know who you are and remember at all times that they do not Care, you are collateral damage and you are not important.   What did you say your name was?  Where are you from?

14.  They will lock you out of your building after every magnitude 5 quake.  They will require a Level 2 Engineers assessment before you can re-enter.  Insist that you see this assessment if you are a tenant in a building.  Also insist on seeing the DEE (Detailed Engineering Assessment).

15.  If you have to raid your own stock from a building that is abruptly closed, do so SAFELY.  Wear fluro, preferably with “Engineer” on the back,  carry a clip board, do it in broad day light.  Have spotters looking out for trouble ie any one else in fluro….  Take your accounts, wage books, grab your computer, chuck your stock in a wheelie bin. BE SAFE not reckless!  (Stock will be pillaged, looted overnight if you leave the building unattended).

Sad but true!

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/201824561/ilan-noy-the-economics-of-disasters

“Professor Ilan Noy, chair in economic disasters at Victoria University, tells Wallace why he thinks it’s a bad idea and discusses the likely economic impact of this week’s quakes”.

It is well worth listening to this!

Be prepared for the long haul and do not sweat over the small stuff.

I know that you will think that I am exaggerating, I am not and you will find that out.

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Earthquake Pains continue…part 190

Ah, and so it begins again…  The “powers that be” begin to repeat the same mistakes that they made here in Christchurch.   It starts with a lack of consultation and a lack of communication…

  • I feel the pain of the Building owners in Wellington who have just found out that they will not be allowed to retrieve their stock and fittings as a result of the impending demolition of the building they were in.  “Staff in the four shops at the base of the nine-storey building have not been allowed back in, and the daughter of one said it was “a big shock” to find out on Sunday that they could lose all their stock and fittings..” Link Here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/86658777/cranes-move-into-wellington-as-demolition-set-to-begin-on-61-molesworth-st      It is likely that the stock and fittings will be shared out amongst the workers demolishing the building and a proportion will end up on Trade Me.  This is what happened here in Christchurch.
  • I was puzzled by a Wellington Building owner who remarked that he had not supplied the Wellington Council with his Building assessment details.   Huh…. you have to be kidding me. They demanded our assessments in triplicate.  I think that this will alter very quickly as the Wellington Council sorts out it procedures….  You will all be required to supply Detailed Engineering Evaluations in the following weeks and months.
  • I also know the pain of the residents in Waiau who are having trouble accessing their homes.  As a “Red Zone road block ” has been created locking them out. We were locked out for many, many months.  I had hoped that the “Powers” had learnt some lessons from the Christchurch situation…  My words of advice?  Find another way around the fencing.  Go for a walk, come in from the side, fly in, parachute in, do what ever you need to do. Tell them to naff off…..   Make your own judged decisions regarding your personal safety.  Be safe and not reckless.   Link Here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/nz-earthquake/86667671/mayor-battles-civil-defence-over-waiau-road-closure     “Hurunui District Mayor Winton Dalley said about 20 farms and another 30 households in Mt Lyford had been cut off from essential supplies of water and assistance as a result.  “We have had residents locked out of being able to return to their homes, we’ve had emergency services and utility services including our engineers denied access to the area to carry out essential repairs to homes and properties in the area.” Dalley said he had been “battling” with NZTA and CDC all day to get limited access to the road for residents and essential services.”
  • I also wonder if any thought has been given to how the South Island freight network is going to cope.  The numbers of trucks on the Lewis Pass road will increase by approximately 700 per day and there will be a huge increase in road traffic (4 fold).  The increased costs of freighting will inevitably be passed on to consumers in the South Island.   I am expecting massive cost increases in freight costs and a flow on to grocery prices.  It will put a further burden on the already struggling Christchurch residents.
  • I will not even bother discussing the debacle that occurred over the tsunami warning that should have been given promptly and clearly.   I listened to the radio at 12.15 am approx.  and heard a warning for the South Coast.  The South Coast??????   huh???   of what? of where?

Ho hum.. the joys of living in a quake zone continue… Stay safe, time to refill the water bottles and tie down the TV.