Road Cone Day.. High Street 7 years after the 22nd February 2011 Earthquakes..

It is “Road Cone Day” today.  When Christchurch remembers those that died, in a uniquely Christchurch fashion.


Christchurch road cone Memorial day.

That dreaded day has come around again,  when we all pause for reflection.  The 22nd of February 2011, the day that changed the lives of every Cantabrian,  some for the better, some for the worse.

We remember those that died, those that suffered and are still suffering and the many Cantabrian’s still trying to get Insurance settlements for their damaged houses and buildings.

We wonder what the future holds for the central city and 7 years on, reflect on progress in the CBD.

We have seen multiple/competing governmental agencies take control of the land, build, design and implementation of the rebuild process.  In the minds of many of us we see this as a separate and new disaster.  The anchor projects are un-affordable and in many cases stalled..  (in fact all they have achieved is a Children’s play ground and a Memorial Wall).

I await the analysis of the so-called “Rebuild agencies” with considerable interest, we need to make sure that this “half-baked” model they dreamt up in haste is never used in New Zealand ever again.

For High Street progress has also been painfully and frustratingly slow.

So we wait..  A total of 2492 days so far ….


High Street 7 years on from February 2011,  is just a car park…

It is hard to get enthusiastic about progress in the central city when we still have a street looking like this.  I see it as a massive failure of both local and central government management or rather mismanagement.

Lower High Street is still fenced off, there are 2 building owners who have not lifted a finger to repair their buildings.

In fact both owners have been given until 2033 to repair their properties under the “Earthquake Prone Building legislation”.   Really?, what planet is the CCC and Central Government  on?

This is in my view, hopelessly inadequate and is like slapping the owners with a “wet bus ticket”.   There has to be a better way of dealing with these issues.


Signage from the CCC on 141 High Street


On a more positive note:

  • The ground floor is nearly empty as all our machinery and stock has gone.
  • I see that the demolition has begun a few days ago on the 8 Duncan’s Units owned by Richard Pebbles.   He is planning to have the new units rebuilt by October/November.  Ye ha!

Demolition begins on the munted Duncan’s Building’s back.


Slow progress, but progress nevertheless.


If you have a building in a similar situation to ours, you need to read this blog from the beginning, so you can approach the issue with your eyes wide open.  This warts and all story is slowly reaching it’s final conclusion, only 240 more days to wait…

Whoops,  I  “Forgot” to tell you that the council is going to dig the street up, just when the buildings are finished.  I think they want to run the tram down this end?  I believe that this is now under some discussion, strange really, no one has asked me what I think…may be they know already?

ha ha the end is not in sight after all…. Bugger..

Update: 28 February 2018:

The demolition of the backs of the Duncan’s Buildings is progressing:  Some of it is going to be done by hand.


The lean too’s are gone, phase 2 begins. Now it gets tricky.

PPS.  Having trouble with Code of Compliance issues, at the CCC consents dept. … sigh, nothing structural I might add.  It is a paper work issue. It is about who signs the paper work!  lol.  A lawyers call seems to have progressed the issue….  they would not respond to my calls.  I think…. a case of “policy over legislation”.   I am watching with interest.


High Street issues drag on for 7 years…

What is new in High Street?…

  • High Street has been closed for nearly 7 years. The last street in the city to get any attention.  (Have you considered that this is longer than World War 11 lasted).       As you know I consider that keeping this area un-repaired has been a deliberate strategy..   aimed to promote other areas of the city.   (What school did you go to??? she says cynically).
  • The re-opening of the “street” is “imminent”  – that is one lane only, one way.  It did not happen 3 weeks ago so “imminent” is as close as I can get.
  • The  “Billens building 2017” is nearly finished.  Looks good!  I will grab an up to date photo.IMG_20171003_122741207
  • The demolition of the back of the 8 units owned by Pebble’s Group was supposed to be “imminent” as well.  I am watching the grass grow as we speak.  There is a very serious risk that the frontages will collapse  when this demo gets underway, if they are not very, very careful. Hope they know what they are doing….


    Digger been idle since end of November.

  • I spotted the CCC was cruising the street at 9.00pm the other night looking at the roading needs.  lol.  I would just settle for a road, who cares if it has cobbles? That’s a luxury. Apparently they were planning on digging up the road as soon as the new tenants have moved in to the rebuilt Billens and Duncan’s units.  You get the picture new businesses/road works a Typical Christchurch scenario.  I think you have already heard me comment on the lack of care that has been taken over the existing tenants/businesses in the CBD, by the powers that be.  This has not changed.
  • Our new tenants moved in upstairs yesterday.  They are having trouble getting an internet/phone line.  We put all the cabling in place but apparently there is no fibre connections spare in St Asaph street.  ie not enough nodes???  Really????   The latest update is that they may end up on the copper line that I had to use in 2013 that Vodafone “cobbled” up for me.   (Took them 4 months if I remember rightly).
  • As of today I am officially unemployed.  Cardmakers is sold, Arts the printers is closed.
  • re our neighbours.  On the North side, nothing has happened.  Zilch, nada…. it was supposed to be containered off at the front, 3 high if I remember correctly.  It was supposed to have parts of it demolished, it was supposed to be strengthened.. etc.. How is it that a building owner can get away with doing NOTHING for 7 years with no penalties?    The law is an ass.   It is well and truly time this was sorted out by legislation.    Somebody help????  Anyone out there?   CCC won’t help, nor will  Regenerate or LINZ, The Local MP’s won’t/can’t help…  Megan woods, Ruth Dyson, Duncan Webb…   Suggestions welcomed.   I am giving serious consideration to the temporary prop that I put in 7 years ago to hold up the roof…. that must be due to fail by now… the floor is rotten, the walls are falling out,   don’t blame me if it happens!!!

Part of our back deck is inaccessible to our tenants.

  • Oh and one last thing.. We are going for code of Compliance in early January 2018.  Ye ha.   7 years work coming to fruition!  By the way we did our landscaping for the Resource consent last week.  That was a waste of effort.  All the plants were stolen overnight.  They did leave the planter box though.  I really do wonder about the consents processes, they are a bit silly!P1010488.JPG

ho ho it’s off to work I go,  got some cleaning out to do and some compliance paper work to sort….

Have a great Christmas and New year.

Duncan’s Building in High Street vs Digger…

High Street News Flash:

  • I have been told by a contractor that the street in front of the Duncan’s Buildings will be opened on Monday, one way.  I have had no notification of this from the CCC but I would consider that normal.  ie I do not expect communication at any level.  I have no idea what implications this will have for contractor parking in the area, which is quite frankly a nightmare.  The irony of this is that you will enter the street from Tuam Street, go around the block and end up on, you guessed it, Tuam Street.  Aren’t our roading engineers clever?
  • A digger has begun demolition off  8 of the Duncan’s  Units, leaving the frontage standing if they are lucky. I will grab some pix today.

Digger has arrived and begun the demo.

  • Did you know that  once these 8 units are down, the unit next to us at 141 High Street is probably one of the most damaged buildings left in the city.  It has no support for its frontage and the back of it is just as bad if not worse.  The floors are rotten, the roof leaks and is held up by a prop that we put in place in 2010.  We should have pulled it out long ago.  ….. that is tempting …..   And still LINZ and the City Council wait for the building owner to do something.  As far as I can see, the owner, who is in Christchurch at the moment I might add,  (back from his overseas paradise), comes to look at the building occasionally and gives the universal one fingered salute to the CCC.  The law is clearly an ass.

Just how long are they going to let this go on? Is 7 years long enough for one building owner to hold up redevelopment of an area.  Obviously not! This building is not unique in the street as you well know.


NB. collected some graffiti in the weekend. If the silly idiot that did this knew what was holding the bay window up he would be very afraid.


Part of our back deck is inaccessible to our tenants.


Hi ho, hi ho, I am off to clear out the factory, we have sold the last of the plant.  Transfer is on the 30 December.

By the way, the lack of care that the government/council has taken with the existing businesses remaining in the CBD and fringes is worrying.  The conclusion we have all reached is that they did not want us here.

One also wonders, at what point do they consider that the number of bars and cafes in the city is past saturation point?  I note that bars and cafes are colonizers in a disaster, the problem in the Christchurch CBD and fringes is that we show no signs of getting past this stage.  So one could say that the recovery phase has not even begun.  7 years on….

They do not talk about this either,  Close your eyes government, for this is getting comical!

How not to repair a Heritage Bulding in the Christchurch CBD… Dirty 30’s again….

What is new in High Street.

  • The Watson’s frontage has been purchased by Shaun Stockman.  An Excellent outcome for the street as he is a very proactive landowner, who has a flare with heritage buildings.  (Although, as you know, I hate just keeping the facades).  I know that the Watson’s Building had been strengthened pre-earthquakes.  So the question should be asked as to why is only the facade still standing?  Did CERA have another of their rushes of blood to the head?  Any one know or remember, or was it another case of an overzealous demo contractor? I will try to find out. Link Here:
  • This is obviously still annoying me…. I see the “dirty 30 list” is rearing its ugly head again.  In the 6 months or so that the CCC has been pursuing the building owners on this list they have sorted out 3?  Really? ( I sorted one-off them for them, I might add.  So consider that 2.)  And you consider that a success? As a building owner still trapped in a street of “Dirty 30’s” I do not consider this a success.  In fact the words Dismal Failure spring to mind.  Link Here:   As you all know, I think that the legislation has let us down badly in this regard. The building owners in many cases have been negligent in their duties to the city.
  • We have now sold all of our plant.  The last of it will transfer in a few weeks to the new owner. We are pleased that we have sold the last of the gear to a local company.  We look forward to helping him get up and running and we hope he has as much fun with the “Cardmaker’s brand” as I have had in the last 20 years.  The factory is slowly emptying as we work our way through 50 years of stuff!  Jeepers we have found some treasures!
  • The demolition of the back of the Duncan’s buildings was supposed to happen a few weeks ago.  I do not know what the hold up has been.  There are multiple engineering issues with this demo.  I have some reservations about it.  One being how they will resolve the issue of the continuous facade and seismic gaps in the rebuild of the backs.  But what would I know.

    No Demo yet….

    Happy days… the sun is shining, the ground only shakes once in a while, I am in my new house, the garden is starting to look better and not working is really great…. May I cost the government a fortune in superannuation payments and health care…. I consider it revenge for the crappy treatment that they dished out to the small land owners in the city… but I would say that!!!

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD… St Asaph Street debacle..

What is New in High Street?

  • I see that Barry Watson has finally decided to put his frontage on the market for sale.  Personally I have serious reservations about the efficacy of “facadism”.  My experience is that the cost of repairing such facades is out of proportion to the return that one will get.  ie to get that facade tied back to a new building will cost approximately $1m?  Is it worth it? I also wonder what the cost to the surrounding area has been off leaving this building frontage derelict for 7 years.  A subject that the now EX building minister Nick Smith ignored when I tried to bring it up.   Link here:–without-the-building
  • The building next door at 135 High Street is down.  There is a wee bit of party-wall to be fixed.  From our point of view it looks 100% better.


    Why did this take 7 years?????

  • I threw my toys out of the cot, again… and now finally the CCC has started to sort out the parking issues in our cul-de-sac.  I now have to ring them again as the rubbish bins are not being emptied and the street is awash with trash. What is it with these guys?

    It has improved.

    I have been watching the St Asaph Street roading debacle with interest.  Generation Zero is insisting that the city become cycle only, while the business/building owners want vehicle access for their customers.   The naivety of the Generation Zero group is surprising, we have an aging population and they appear to have no business sense what so ever, while the Business Owners are fighting for the survival of their businesses  (they also have lost the plot, as much of the street was being used as long-term parking by their staff).  Reinstating what we had in the past is not satisfactory.  Any one ever heard the word compromise?

    Link Here:   I will admit that I laughed when they suggested that this plan is going to come to fruition in 10 years time.  Whoops.. shame about the fact that it is not working now! Bit tough on the businesses that are there now…

  • Moving on…. Demolition off the backs of the Duncan’s Buildings begins on Monday.  We are not looking forward to the dust. I will get some photos of it tomorrow.  It could get interesting structurally…
  • We are having a closing down sale next weekend as we are not willing to wait for things to get better.  We have heaps of stock to clear.  We look forward to seeing our clients again after 7 years..close down mail order

have a safe evening!

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD…The Tram…

What is New in High Street?

  • The Press has an article about the Tram that was supposed to run down our end of the street.   I note that we get a mention in the comments again.  Link Here:     I had heard a whisper that this proposal would not go ahead, so I am not surprised.  What did surprise me was that they even considered lower High Street as an option at all.  The intersection at Tuam/High Street is so crowded with signage I am not sure that the tram will fit thru!  (I think it is 28 signs).   I will grab a photo and re-do my count.   I wonder if the new stadium, or Victoria Street might be a better option for the Tram? He he!  High Street is a destination shopping zone.  I have yet to be convinced that the tram fits this classification. I know that Mr Peebles’ does not agree and his point about digging up the street after the building repairs are done is valid. CCC has left all the roading repair projects to the last-minute, it has proved to be a costly mistake.
  • Access to our frontage is a nightmare.  CCC has not responded yet.  Unfortunately they seem to have the misguided idea that we are not trading so we do not need access.  And you certainly can not get access from St Asaph Street!  (Narrow, lacks parking, multiple kerbs and channels… etc   Ho hum status normal AFU!  We have only been waiting nearly 7 years….  (Wellington has no idea what joys are waiting for them…)

This is my front door access at the moment. If I can get into the street that is.

  • Work on the demolition of 135 Begins tomorrow I believe. That will make access even more interesting. But the end result will be worth the annoyance.


Hi ho… its off to work I go…..I think i will risk my old bones on the bike… i might just be able to squeeze past to my front door…

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD…

So, whats new in High Street????

  • Did you know that for our building, according to the CCC that “the heritage listing/protection only applies to exterior fabric of the building. Interior fabric, including party walls are no longer protected as part of the heritage item as a result of the recent District Plan review process.  As such the only elements of the Duncan’s Units that can be assessed in terms of effects upon Heritage value in this consent process are the front High Street facade, the rear Duncan’s lane facade, the roof and foundations.”   Really you have to be kidding me.  Based on this,  I can cheerfully demolish my party walls, without consent, I assume…   What brainless bureaucrat has come up with this nonsense?    (this came out of the CCC report on the non notified Resource consent application for the redevelopment proposal for the Duncan’s Buildings.)  So some wag somewhere has decided that party walls are not part of the Heritage fabric of a building, this is very convenient and I am sure will be news to other Christchurch building owners with party walls.

    Based on this we can all have a field day pulling down our party walls?   Now that they are not part of the Heritage fabric of a building….
    I note that the consulting Engineer also said that the walls are not repairable.  You could have fooled me…  bugger I had better go check my repaired walls ….
    Moving on before I lose the plot completely……
  • The Peeble’s consortium is working on the propping of the Duncan’s Facade that they own.  The propping is starting to take shape.
  • IMG_20171003_122635485_HDR.jpg

    Steel props are going up.


    as at 2.00pm 5/10/17

  • The Billen’s Building is racing ahead.  Apparently finish date is December!  I believe he has tenants already lined up.


    Stockman’s Billen’s building is close to being finished..

  • The CCC has effectively closed off our end of the street, by turning it into a contractor parking area. I was not told off course! It is a “no rules apply” area I am afraid.  Double parking, yellow lines, traffic islands- no problem! it is all legal in High Street. This is not going to help my new, arriving soon, upstairs tenants.   I am trying to get the situation sorted.   WIP I am afraid. By the way rumor has it that the CCC is going to open High Street to one way traffic in December. If this happens it will become very interesting to see how the Peebles group access their building.
  • IMG_20171003_095638125.jpg

    In High St you can park anywhere you like!

  • The Press is still talking about the “Dirty 30….  now apparently the “Dirty 15”.  I Note that there are buildings missing from this list. Link here: I note also that we get a mention in the comments.  I am heartened to know that someone out there is watching. Unfortunately the CCC has not managed to get the owners of 141 High Street to co-operate (BBS Australia Ltd) nor the owners of the Ace Video Building on the corner.   – I did also think it was rather unfair of them to show a picture of the Shands/Trinity buildings in Manchester Street as an example of the “Dirty 30”.  Both of these buildings have repairs well under way and in fact I was in Shands a few days ago for a meeting, it is looking amazing! They have done a great job in a year.
  • The derelict building at 135 High Street, next door to us, will be demolished on the 13th- 20th of October.  It will help with the tidy up of our frontage! Progress at last! Apparently it will not take long.

    The shell of 135 will be demolished next week.  (p.s. Some idiot threw a rock thru our upstairs circular window. Hence the cherry picker)



    Ah well,  I better get my skates on, I am trying to tidy up our retail area for the real Estate agent, he wants some pretty pictures.  The worst of it is that I have to move it all back for our upcoming stock clearance sale…..