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!

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

 

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.

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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!

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