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.

IMGP4100

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!

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:

3rd Earthquake pictures 038

22.2.2011 15 minutes after the earthquake.

 

To This:

IMGP4089-spinks

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.

IMGP4091

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

 

Derelict Buildings in the Christchurch CBD & the Minister for Building & Construction.

Well that was a bit of a joke.   An answer from The Minister for Building and Construction, Dr Nick Smith.  He tells me: “I am unable to get involved in individual disputes”…. “talk to the Christchurch City Council…”  or ” seek legal advice”.

Just how out of touch with reality is he? I can name, right now, 6 buildings within  200 metres of us that are derelict and have neighbours desperately trying to get resolution.

This government has been asleep at the wheel for 6 years over these issues.

  •  Incidentally, It is not a dispute. It takes 2 to have a dispute!
  • I have talked to the CCC. Ad Infinitum …. still dead useless…
  • We are now in discussions with LINZ (Land Information New Zealand). They are in charge of the Section 77’s, which to be honest are not worth the paper that they are written on. (These are a renamed section 38 make safe orders).
  • Lawyers?    Does he have a spare $1000 or $5000?  Haven’t the lawyers in Christchurch made enough out of earthquake misery yet? (Mostly as a result of this government not protecting the people and not forcing the insurance industry to settle within a reasonable time period).

Unless the Government develops some gonads, this issue is going to be a re-occurring theme throughout the country. Does the Minister really think that this is not going to be an issue in Wellington?  He’s dreaming. (Not unusual for this particular Minister I might add. He has become known as the minister that reduced the water quality of our rivers by revising the standards.  Down, down, down). http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/89767723/NZ-reputation-hurt-by-declining-water-quality-tourism-industry-says

This issue is going to have a massive impact on surrounding building owners nationwide.  Being surrounded by derelict and abandoned building is going to be the NORM!  Look at some of the small towns in the south island, Timaru, Ashburton, Waimate, Oamaru,  Greymouth, the list is endless,  all of them have un-reinforced  masonry buildings that are now semi abandoned, too expensive to repair, too expensive to pull down as well as being uninsured.

minister resp.jpg

ho hum, another day in a dysfunctional city.  It certainly is interesting!  I’m off to do some real work, paint the factory wall.

PS I hear that LINZ  are going to demolish one of our neighbours further down the street, this is happening as a result of the meeting between a building owner and Minister Brownlee last week.   Hum…  it appears that the Old boys network is alive and well in Christchurch…  At least it will create a precedent!

P1000847

Whoops, it needs to come down now so that the neighbours can open.

High Street – Derelict Buildings in the Christchurch CBD…

What’s New in Lower High Street:

6 years and 1 month after the 22nd February 2011 quake and still neither the Government, Minister Nick Smith,  or the Christchurch City Council have made any attempt to deal with building owners who refuse to repair/sell or sort out their buildings. One has to wonder why?

Is it that it would force some of the “well-heeled” building owners in the city to act. (ie  the Anglican Church in the Square?)  Or is it simpler than that?  They are incompetent?  The jury is out on this issue.

My argument is that CERA/CCDU/Otakaro/Regenerate were tasked with assisting recovery.  It appears to have been a VERY selective assistance is all I can say. They have made no attempts to get High Street back up and running and we now have 2 – soon to be 3 building owners waiting for neighbours to act.  (The only Street in the city still behind fencing after 6 years).

Hot off the Press:  I believe LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) has agreed to the demolition of one of the “made safe” units at the other end of the row, (Laurie Rose building), due to the fact that it will hold up the opening of one of the Duncan’s units.  I see that Minister Brownlee was in the street on Friday (10th March) having a meeting on this site, with building owners, Linz, Lawyers etc.  Interesting, is it not, that the street was “cleaned up” on thursday prior to this meeting.  The 2nd time in 6 years, a coincidence?  Not!  It is okay for the locals to put up with this mess for 6 years but the Minister can not put up with it for 15 minutes?

A pity that the Minister did not walk 100 yards to see another building owner in exactly the same situation. Very selective treatment is a norm in Christchurch I am afraid.

Governments should not be in charge of disasters, they do a poor job.

Re the Duncan’s Units:

  • I am now wading through 124 pages of the  Resource Consent document for the demolition of the backs of the 8 Duncan’s Units purchased by the Peebles Group. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/90142156/progress-at-last-for-christchurchs-lower-high-st-as-developers-launch-heritage-rescue          Hum..  I am not sure that I entirely agree with some of the statements in this document.  There are a number of factual errors.   Financial expediency rules here I think. My feeling is that the outcome is not the correct one, but it is unlikely that I will get a say in the matter.  Add that to the fact that Resource Consents gave me the paper work “run around” last week when we demolished a badly damaged brick wall  (that we are rebuilding I might add) and this week they are likely to consent demolition of the entire backs of 8 units with no qualms at all.  One could say that “one is pissed off!”  she says holding her nose. I know what I will say when you ring me again…..
  • I note that some of the larger building owners have made a deputation to the CCC regarding the new “Inaccessible” city. (We did this weeks ago).  I hope you get somewhere. The problem is that they will not listen and they refuse to accept that they have it wrong. (I might add that we are now totally unable to access our back service entrance off St Asaph Street,  our paper suppliers can not park safely and the drivers refuse to come to our front entrance because they have to back out of the street). I notice that the Fire service at 1.30 pm today feels it is safer to drive in the middle of the road, straddling both lanes than to try to squeeze into one lane.  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/90413666/anger-at-an-accessible-city-central-christchurch-traffic-plan
  • Our new toilet block is emerging from the mud.  Literally.  3 days of rain have turned it into a nasty mess.  The opening of the neighbours service trench along side has not helped.
  • IMG_20170310_101831311IMG_20170310_102014158

 

  • We have just sold off Our Heidelberg Cylinder, in preparation for our exiting the building.  It is off to the big smoke in Auckland. It “crawled” its way out the door yesterday.  Sad really:  Another small Christchurch company closing down due to: a too slow recovery process, impossible parking and access conditions, lack of assistance from “the powers that be” regarding surrounding buildings, Inaccessible City centre, etc  I could go on…  We are collateral damage.  What’s another couple of unemployed old printers going to do next???  Unemployment here we come. ye ha!!!!
  • IMG_20170315_100235828_HDR.jpg
  • IMG_20170315_122821512.jpg

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The sun is shining, our mud hole is drying up and retirement beckons….  ye ha

 

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….

  • p1000572

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