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.

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

 

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD…. part 188

Humm…..  I wonder…

James Lunday.   Urban Designer and Economic Development Entrepreneur. Link Here: http://www.la3.com.au/our-network-our-people/australia-office/2-uncategorised/138-australia-james-lunday.html

James Lundy also features in the Gerard Smyth’s Christchurch Dilemmas Series. Link Here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201811229/gerard-smyth-christchurch-dilemmas

also here: http://chchdilemmas.co.nz

James Lunday has been employed now by Regenerate Christchurch.   Huh?   How the heck did that come about?  Are we talking about the man who has consistently been telling CERA/CCDU/REGENERATE CHRISTCHURCH  ETC  (whatever they are called now)  for the last 6 years that they have this Recovery all wrong?  The man who told them in 2011 at a meeting I attended said to “tell CERA to ……. off,”  that: they were demolishing too many buildings, that the “Precincts plans” were fatally flawed, that the Convention Centre is the wrong design in the wrong place and do we need one anyway?

Nah, this can not be.

They are 2 possibilities:
1.  The Powers that be have finally realised that they need some expert advice.   
2.  They want to shut him up.  He has been too vocal in his criticism.  

I hope that it is option 1.  (My understanding is that Otakaro has clearly told the Christchurch City Council that they will not renegotiate or alter the Blueprint design that they have created).

Gosh, I am so cynical!

The delicious irony of this is that Regenerate Christchurch, has moved into the new Peeble’s Consortium building right behind the Duncan’s Buildings on High Street.

The beauty of this is that every time they look out the window they will see this!  A daily reminder that they have got this recovery all Wrong! 

What’s the old saying…. revenge is a dish best served cold.p1000413

What is new in High Street?

  • We are still stalled by our Engineer and the lack of a PS1 for the CCC Building consent.  It is driving me to distraction.
  • The propping of the 8 Duncan’s Units that the Peeble’s group have purchased, will happen in Feb/March next year.
  • The road works are still stopping us from opening our pop up shop.  The contractors just never seem to Finish anything.
  • I have heard that the Peeble’s  Group wish to demolish the backs of the Duncan’s Buildings.  Given that Resource Consents gave me a hard time,  a few weeks ago, when they Thought that I was going to disturb/demolish our back brick wall,  I wonder if this is feasible???

Ho hum, life gets interesting…..

PS  Pix of 4 weeks progress on my house!

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How not to Repair a Heritage Building in The Christchurch CBD…

So whats new in High Street?  Update……

  • Sanity has prevailed and peace has broken out between  Gough/Carter/Issacs/Bridges et al and The Peebles group. This was in reality a stoush about tenants.     Links here:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/83924370/christchurch-developers-drop-court-action-over-mckenzie-and-willis-development
    and here:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/83944438/editorial-settling-of-high-st-project-stoush-a-positive-move-for-central-christchurch
  • The road works occurring on our side of the city are being done in a hap-hazard manner.  There appears to be no attempt being made to stagger the repairs.  At the moment ALL of the south side of the CBD is a shambles.  For some reason known only to themselves, the CCC has allowed every street to be simultaneously dug up.  It creates ongoing disruption that never seems to end  and much of it could have been staggered over a longer period of time.
    This is a hopeless situation for any retailer trying to trade.  It is causing considerable frustration.  We could not access our building at all a few days ago, it was a real pain as I had heaps of parcels to cart back and forth.  Oh well.  SNAFU…..
  • I note that in Madras St near the Ng building , the street is still cordoned off by road cones.  Madras St is a major thoroughfare North.  CERA began to demolish a building there in 2011? and found out much to their surprise that it had a party-wall….   dur…..No attempt appears to have been made to resolve the issue.  So the road cones have remained in place for 6 YEARS . Surely we can do better than this.
  • We are still battling with our Amended Building Consent, the Engineer is holding it up, he is slow and over worked. Our Resource Consent Application has been approved, subject to some conditions –  ( that’s $2500 please…..)  and now  we have an Application for Emergency Authority (Historic Places Act) Order 2011, which was approved a few days ago, ye ha!  ( all for the 20sqm replacement/rebuild of a toilet block).  This last application is just in case we find heritage treasures under our old toilet block.

“This emergency authority has been created to carry out earthworks near archaeological sites to redevelop sites affected by the Canterbury earthquake and its aftershocks. The aim of creating an emergency authority is to streamline and simplify the authority process to undertake such work in accordance with the purposes of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011.”  It comes with a couple of pages of conditions which I won’t bore you with.  Heaven help you if you find anything.  It will cost a fortune and hold you up for weeks. The most likely find is some old crockery and a few roof tiles.

 

  • There was an excellent comment by Johnny Moore last week: ““God help you if you’re a small business owner or somebody who wants to invest and live in the city – this isn’t the rebuild for you. If the Government doesn’t scuttle your plans you can be sure the City Council will, because at the moment all of the support goes to the big players and the little guys who create the complexity that makes great cities are being shut down and eradicated by overzealous authorities one lot at a time”. Link here:http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/84288413/johnny-moore-reports-of-christchurchs-previous-death-greatly-exaggerated

    Odd spot:   We had a Dutch cousin in Amsterdam ask the other day about how we were getting on.  We found ourselves “fudging the truth”.  This is not uncommon for those of us in Christchurch facing ongoing issues.

    How can I tell you that I still do not have a house after 6 years?
    How can I tell you that we are going to close our business down after 50 plus years?
    How can I tell you that we are all unemployed?
    How can I tell you that our building in High Street is still not finished?
    How can I explain about the many cases of PTSD in the city?

    I will stop now before your eyes glaze over, we do not blame you for not understanding.  Because we know that is what is happening.  As well-meaning as you are,  you do not really want to know about our problems, so we will say: that “we are making slow progress” we will smile and leave it at that. Thanks for asking.

    I note that straight after I wrote this I saw a similar comment by Garry Moore.

    Link Here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11719369      “Travels and what people ask:
     
    I have been travelling a bit lately undertaking a project for Community Housing Aotearoa. We are talking to all of the political parties and analysing their policies on housing. It’s a fascinating exercise and I will write about this sometime in the future. However what I want to talk about is how people in the North Island, quite sincerely, often ask me how we are getting on now that the earthquakes have stopped. They ask what’s it like now that the city is rebuilt?
     
    It’s hard to answer without sounding a moaner. I mumble that it’s slowly coming right. Most people can’t believe that our family still lives in a house which our insurance company is fighting us over. They think it’s all sorted out. I smile nicely and say no it’s not, for us, and many thousands of other people”.

    sad and true….