How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchuch CBD, Part 167….

So, whats new in Lower High Street…..

Most of the Billen’s building is gone as is the mess that was behind the frontage of McKenzie and Willis.  So that is an improvement.

Billens and McKenzie sites finally clear.

Billens and McKenzie sites finally clear.

Demolition contractors will start in the next few days “making safe 163 High Street”.

Section 38

Section 38 “make safe” about to begin on last unit in Duncans Building.

The Tuam St/High Street intersection is STILL a sea of road cones. It is pure incompetence on the part of the roading contractors that this area is not sorted. It is manifestly unfair on the few businesses trying to make a living in this area.

The hopeless progress on the High Tuam Intersection. A intolerable situation for retailers. 8-9 months progress!

The hopeless progress on the High /Tuam  Sts Intersection. An intolerable situation for retailers. 8-9 months progress!

I finally got our amended building consent from the CCC and we have gibbed and started plastering our ceiling and relaid a small section of floor that we had not seen for many years, that turned out to be seriously “munted”. ( (Not level).

It took 18 months to get permission to gib this ceiling. There is a serious bottle neck in the Fire safety department of consents at the CCC.

It took 18 months to get permission to gib this ceiling. There is a serious problem in the Fire safety department of Building consents at the CCC.

  • I also notice that it is Heritage week in Christchurch. I was surprised that the tours do not include High Street.  Pity.
  • I Notice that Barnaby Bennett took another shot at the Labour party in his latest opinion piece on Public Address.  I also see that that Press did not print it.  (With apologies to Tony Milne, who worked tirelessly for CHCH Central in his attempt to take the seat).

“The local MPs, including Ruth Dyson, Megan Woods and Eugenie Sage, have worked tirelessly and through huge workloads, but the Opposition en masse, the leadership, along with the national media, have failed to represent the scale of the issues here.  It’s all been seen as too hard, too detailed and too boring. The result of this is that the people here have not been well represented, or protected, throughout the biggest disaster in living memory in New Zealand”.

I agree with his views.   The Government and the opposition have failed to represent us. I pop the link here: http://publicaddress.net/speaker/11-ways-the-opposition-has-failed-christchurch/

Moving on….

It is with some irritation I have spent 2 weeks writing a submission for “Consultation number 4”.  Regarding the High/St Asaph/Ferry Road/Madras St intersection.  It has been hours of work. For the accessible city – transport projects proposed changes.

high st entrance

Oh what an irony, the plan that they propose locks off 2 of the 3 egress points from the street.  A situation that the retailers in the street have been fighting against for 40 plus years.  As long as I have been in High street and I hate to confess that it is nigh on 35 years, every few years the Council would come up with some new “idea” to shut off access to the street.  What it actually meant was that they could not cope with the diagonal nature of the street.  It just does not fit their roading models. All the models are designed to cope with a rectangular pattern. (CERA/CCDU have fallen into the same trap).

The plan that they have come up with is similar to all the others.  This latest version locks  off the egress BOTH to the west and the east and narrows the road way at the entry/exit point.  (Given that the street has no back access and heavy trucks are a regular feature of High Street, this plan is in the loony tunes basket).   It forces all our customers to egress thru a narrow slip way to the north.  The so-called “proposal” also reduces access to a narrow slip way with an awkward entrance. (What a bunch of flaming idiots.  They seem to have this bizarre idea that our customers do not want to be able to get anywhere near us).

The really annoying bit is that this plan was produced by CERA/CCDU or whatever they call themselves these days.  But the delicious irony is that it is delivered and packaged to us as consultation as a Christchurch City Council initiative.

I thought this nonsense had stopped.  After 5 years we are still being ruled by Wellington bureaucrats.

Well, when I got off my perch and checked it out, I found that the Christchurch City Council had not even seen this plan 24 hours before it was sent out to us. Collaboration and Co- operation???? hummn,  just more of the same treatment that the business and property owners have faced for the last 5 years.

I might add, I received the document in my mail box on the 23th September.  Consultation was swift indeed and had to be in by the 8th of October.  Really that is consultation????  Just who are you kidding.????? These are complicated documents and it takes weeks to get all the details required in a meaningful format.

I thought that an air of co-operation had finally descended on CERA/CCDU and that they had realised that they needed to stop acting like dictators and buzz off to what ever Wellington planet that they came from.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/69943847/council-claws-back-rebuild-power

“Following the discussion, cabinet recommended a more collaborative approach between Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Dalziel”.

yeah right!

Copy of Submission below,  for the really dedicated High Street fan!   Stop reading now if you want!  🙂

Unfortunately I believe the chances of winning this battle is slim and I suspect that many of the flaky decisions being made about roading in the city will need to be re addressed as soon as we get rid of the “powers that be”. Unfortunately as a small owner operator I do not have the connections needed to be noticed.  So I cheerfully continue this blogging until they top messing with me and start acting in a professional and thoughtful manner.

Apologies for the detail. The highlighted bits are the summary bits!

Re proposal for the  High St/Madras St/St Asaph St. Intersection

Background.
I am the only retailer/building owner and resident currently open and operating in the lower section of High Street,  so I will take the time to explain the situation here.  High Street is now trapped between 3 one way streets.  Further more, there has been a systematic, progressive dismantling of the historic “High Street diagonal link” as each section of High Street has been physically isolated from each other, often with “humps and bumps”.

The High Street Business Association has fought for the last 40 + years to keep the access and egress open and keep traffic flowing.   About 50 years ago when access to Ferry road was originally closed off and the one way system installed, High Street became a sea of empty buildings with boarded up windows. The street had become “too difficult” to get into and out off. It took 30 years for this situation to be reversed, slowly the street became tenanted by niche retailers and became a “destination”.  Lower High Street will now have one of only a few “Heritage Buildings”   (ie Duncans Buildings 1905)  left in the city and It is vitally important that we do not get isolated. We need traffic to be able to pass through the street and Short term park without too many obstacles.

I note also, that there is a No “Street Scape plan” for High St, this means that this current “proposal” is being implemented in isolation and is un-coordinated.  It is a piecemeal process, which involves picking off the intersections only, as has happened already at Tuam and Lichfield streets.

There are only going to be a very limited number of retailers in the lower High Street Block.  To survive this far from the CBD we will need to be specialised/destination shops.   We do not rely on foot traffic, nor do we rely on the polytechnic students. This means customers require easy access and egress: ie the ability to be able to pick up and drop off.

We also need constant turn over of car parks. Every 20 – 30 minutes ideally.  (This needs to be policed much more rigorously than in the past as both High  and St Asaph street’s have become cheap, long-term car parks for the Poly technic students and the surrounding building owners.)

Our Customers need access to parks within a reasonable  walking distance. Currently the parking building in Lichfield St is not available and the inner city free bus is not operating.

High Street needs traffic flow to stay vibrant and appealing.

The Proposal:

It makes the access and egress of Lower High Street more difficult and visually unappealing.

– A vehicle turning into Madras St (from St Asaph St) will have to cross over the 2 lanes of Madras St, to reach a  position in the far left lane to get into High St.  (Vehicles are likely to have a queue of cars behind them coming from St Asaph St  and also are likely to be exposed to oncoming traffic from Madras Street as the lights change.   The vehicle must also cross over the cycle lane.  There is no “safe area” other than the cycle lane. It needs a better turn off area.  

The right hand turning lane on St Asaph Street into Madras St – Will become more congested, as vehicles are both turning into High St and also wanting to go straight ahead on Madras Street.  

It is being made visually unappealing to turn into Lower High Street.  Customers face a TIGHT,  left hand turn, close to an intersection.  (It is going to be similar to the entrance from Manchester Street into the middle block of High Street. It is hard to find the  narrow entrance)    Visually it is being made difficult and unappealing.  This is not helpful to a street that is likely to be niche retail.

The  existing right hand slip way/turning lane from High Street into St Asaph St  gives our customers the option of getting direct access to the One Way Street  heading west with ease and safety.   
 The turn also creates the ability for “vehicles to go around the block”.  This is vital to any retail area.  

The proposal to get from High Street into St Asaph St will now require a 5 block detour, via Tuam/Barbadoes/St Asaph St’s,  or the alternative is  across Tuam, further down High Street than via Manchester Street, an even more difficult route.  This turn is VITAL to High Street in my opinion. A small narrow egress, cobblestoned and giving cyclists right of way, is easily achievable.  It does not require lights, as it operates as a free turn now.  (It will also break up what is going to be a large expansive of ugly asphalt.)
I see no reason to change the status quo.

The buildings along High Street DO NOT have off-street loading facilities and rely on the surrounding streets for delivery of goods.  The narrowing of the roadway at the High Street entrance/ intersection will make it difficult for heavy vehicles to access the street.

Our suppliers use large trucks to deliver product (heavy paper) to us.  We do not have access to the pedestrian lane way (that is going to be created behind the west side of High St).  The turning lane at the Madras Street Intersections is going to be too narrow  and too tight a turn to easily allow these truck access.  Currently large vehicles are having trouble leaving the street through the Madras Street slip way from Lower High Street, I am regularly watching drivers of heavy vehicles having a number of attempts at positioning themselves to get around the corner into Madras St.  It is too tight for large heavy traffic. And under this proposal there is no alternative route.

There will be a further loss of car parks/loading zone space in High St. This proposal means the loss of  part of the loading zone in front of 129 High Street.  This loading zone over the last 10 years has been extremely useful to both couriers and for short-term pick up and drop off’s. It should not be further reduced in size.

The widening of the footpath on the St Asaph Street (near the corner of High St/St Asaph st-along side 129 High Street). This is a dark, cold area, with limited foot traffic, there seems little point in narrowing off the street further at this point, and further reducing parking in this area. In effect that area will be asphalt and is and will continue to be unattractive.

The loss of the Ferry road link.  This is unfortunate as it further limits egress options from High street.  It is particularly useful for heavy traffic and a quick link to the east.

This proposal makes the implementation of the long-term CCC plan to extend the tram route to the restored Catholic Cathedral much more difficult to implement.  This is a shame as having the tram pass down a restored Heritage Street to a restored Heritage Cathedral is necessary addition to the tourist tram link as well as allowing transport options for the poly students heading towards the Lichfield bus depot.  

It is time for a parking building in the area.  This could also be used by the business owners, It would solve some of the parking issues.  (The proposed loss of 109 car parks adds to the areas problems, it does not solve them) A long-term solution to the parking issues involves the building of more parking building on edges of the city for staff/ owners to park and easy access to buildings.  Walking long distances with parcels, stock is not an option.

 Trees.    Large-leaved lime trees grow up to 35m tall.   35 metres  is too high. ( High st already has problems with the, currently, 13 metre high trees that we have with acorns and leaves).  The almost constant year round leaves gives maintenance problems and blocks roof and road gutters. “Go native”.  I suggest something a little smaller.

 History tells me that the work I have gone to here is pointless as there will be no real meaningful consultation with the building owners for the past 5 years.

 What a way to run a recovery.   

ps.  this is what 5 years progress on my house looks like.

5 years of progress by Southern Response, Benchmark and Arrow.

5 years of progress by Southern Response, Benchmark and Arrow.

How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD

  • Do we still own our building???? Now 796 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – Designation to be in place until 2022. ( ie They can take the building any time between now and 2022)
  • High Street Building amendment details still at the council. Since January 2014. I am trapped between the CCC building consents Department and the Engineer. They are arguing about: “Justify that the new steel members (columns) will not have a detrimental effect on the stability of the party walls in a fire”.  This is plainly idiotic.  Do you want us to strengthen or not??

So whats new in High Street?

The Billens Building and Mckenzie and Willis remain in the same condition as before. Here is a pretty picture of the back.  This is what I look at every day. Cheerful eh?

The Back of McKenzie and Willis and Billens building.

The Back of McKenzie and Willis and Billens building.

So no progress here.

The 7 shops owned by CERA have had nothing done to them for 4 years now.

Here is a pix of the back. I have been told that :“Further design work for the partial and full strengthening options of these properties is required and we are in the process of procuring these services. Following this work a decision will be made on the level of strengthening that will be undertaken.”   Pigs fly!

CERA owns these 7 units, No progress here.

CERA owns these 7 units, No progress here.

I was invited last week, to the opening of the “High Street Transitional Project”   I was happy to attend.  It perhaps should be more correctly labeled the “Upper High Street Transitional Project”.  It was great to see the sheep.  They add a wee bit of humour to a hopeless situation. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10541203/Forget-traffic-cones-we-have-sheep-cones

Sheep Road Cones

Sheep Road Cones

It has been suggested that our end of the street could do with some livestock as well, and what better than some “Broken sheep for a broken street?”

Broken sheep for a Broken street!

Broken sheep for a Broken street!

Sheep would be appropriate as we have plenty of fencing to keep them in and no traffic to damage them further, They will not escape as nothing much else has in the last 4 years.

It is an irony that CERA/CCDU/CCC  and all the other “powers that be” are putting so much energy into: water way/river projects, parks, gap filler, sheep cones, planter boxes, sculptures, artworks et al, but at the end of the day every interaction that I have with them leaves me still no better off.  I get no resolution, no answers, no meaningful assistance. Frustrating eh!  Just maybe they do not have a clue about what would really make a difference?

Perhaps we could begin commercial grazing?

Perhaps we could begin commercial grazing?

Onwards!

I have had to do another submission to the CCC over  “part 2” of the roading plans for Manchester and Tuam streets.  This is token consultation, as the CCC is firing the bullets for CCDU,  there was a noticeable lack of information on which to make a judged decision.

No one else in our end of the street bothered to submit anything, as far as I know.  There was not a lot of point they told me.  Still I am trying to keep them “honest.”

I have also been trying to get some information on the “Public Realm Network Plan”.  This interesting document is firmly in the hands of CERA/CCDU at the moment.  I believe that they are under “consultation” over this document.  Their idea of consultation is notional at the best.  As far as I can work out the CCC knows little about it, neither has any business owner in my circle seen it. The reason I want to see said document is because it seriously affects my development options for the rebuild of the rear of our building.  We have waited 4 years now. Why are we waiting…….???  They really do not want businesses to remain in the CBD do they?  Where is their commercial sense????   hello “Ground control to Major Tom is there any one out there” ????

It looks like another case of CERA/CCDU consultation that you have when you are not consulting.

It is probably sitting on Gerry’s desk.  Like all the other Christchurch issues.  He seems incapable of making a rapid decision.  One wonders why he has been given another portfolio (Defence) as well as dealing with Christchurch recovery.  (Than again he is very defensive!)
I spotted this editorial the other day.  Spot on!!    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/editorials/10531202/Editorial-Gerry-should-focus-on-one-job

Secret Squirrel is alive and well!

Secret Squirrel is alive and well!

On the subject of commercial business in the city. In a conversation with a large building owner I was told that the city has run out of commercial tenants willing to lease premises. The rents/outgoings are too high and the economy here is so depressed that most operators prefer to remain in their garages and back yards rather than step up into high risk rentals in the CBD. Combine this with the fact that many offices and head offices have pulled out of Christchurch. This partially explains why the Cashel street/High street intersection looks like a wasteland on a busy Saturday afternoon – No one is bothering to rebuild as they have no tenants secured for the developments, therefore no funds secured from the banks to rebuild with).

Cashel Street near High Street on a busy saturday.

Cashel Street near High Street on a busy saturday.

The other issues being very carefully not discussed by the “powers that be” here is the continued population loss. Although the figures look okay, with only a 7000 drop, what is happening is that as the 40-50 years olds get their houses fixed and their family issues sorted, they are pulling out of the city.  (This is noticeable amongst my acquaintances). These are people with middle/upper tier management and trade skills. They are gradually pulling out, as people recognise that the situation here is hopeless. They are being replaced by construction workers.

It was sad to see in the ChCh Press an article about the loss to the city of economist Eric Crampton.  His views are pragmatic and sensible. It is a pity CERA did not bring him onto their team and listen to him.  “As a classical liberal, Crampton believes the state’s role in our lives should be as limited as possible”.
He believes that the government’s response to the earthquakes, was an unhappy combination of regulation and deregulation. Damn right he is too.  You only had to be unfortunate enough to be trapped in the CBD red zone to know what hells we were put through. While those building owners 100 metres away,  outside the red zone, did not have to face and endure.

“He has a lot to say about how the post-quake period has been handled”  Read his chapter in the book “Once in a Life Time”.   (Free range Press) It is an eye opener.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10390141/Outspoken-economist-leaves-ChCh

Ho humm it’s a beautiful day, I am warm for the first time in 3 months, the birds are singing and they have dug a hole for my house foundations.  Some one in their infinite wisdom has decided that we need a 7500 litre storm water tank.  Great! I am going to get a new swimming pool as well! Morons….. This is overkill……

A swimming pool!

A swimming pool!

 

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD part 143

  • Locked out of undamaged factory for 1187 days – (since Feb 2011)
  • Do we still own our building????    Now 660 days since designated “South frame, Innovation Precinct” – only 1167 days to go before we get told if we are going to be compulsorily acquired by the  CCDU. There was the possibility that this designation would be lifted in July. This has been denied by Gerry. Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/10002634/Can-Christchurch-be-saved   “The innovation precinct is veiled in confusion. But rumours that Brownlee will soon lift the land designation – allowing landowners to resume business – “have been quashed by the minister.”  That is NOT what I was told at a CCDU meeting.  I was told they “may” be lifting the designations by July.  One of The troubles with the CCDU is that they are very good at “half-truths”. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Ask Shaun Stockman who “Owned” a Brand new building in Manchester St, the “poster child” of the rebuild.  About to be demolished for road widening.  Go figure that out.  I can not.  By the way, I note that I am not the only person saying Gerry was going to lift the designations: Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9964116/Blueprint-options-reviewed part 2
  • Innovation precinct Plan Due:  September,  October,  November, December 2013, January, February, March, April, May?? Nope it’s to be July 2014!!!!
  • High Street Building amendment details still at the council. Another Request for Further Information regarding a gib ceiling.  Back to the Engineer.  (Has been at consents since 26 January 2014) Some progress has been made here as the Engineering work part of the consent has all been approved.  Sigh….. For heavens sake it’s only a sodding ceiling…..
  • Building Consent for my new house. This consent has been at the CCC since October 2013. I am sick of “Southern No Response”, Arrow International as project managers, Benchmark Homes, the building company and the designers of the house, Bespoke Architecture.  This consent is obviously flawed. It does not take 7 months to get a housing building consent out of the CCC.  A commercial consent is bad I know, but this is down right crazy.  I believe the latest hold up is the storm water.  What a surprise. Not.  If they bothered to talk to me they would have known that this is a common issue on the hill.  We will not even talk about their silly plans for the sewerage.  If they had used their brains none of this needed to have happened. Arrow International has now planted grass seed on my building site. This has caused much laughter amongst my friends. (Obviously they have no plans to rebuild soon.)   I am now looking at opting out. I do not even get the interest of my EQC insurance money, I was bullied into handing it over to Southern Response. My house was stuffed on the 22nd February 2011.  Why has it taken this long????  It is insane.

Still on the subject of building consents:

“The council last month granted a record 994 consents but it only managed to process 38 per cent of the commercial consents it received within the statutory time period.”

“Regulation and consents committee chairman Cr David East said he was confident that by July the percentage of consents being processed within the statutory time frames would be considerably higher.

“Obviously there is a small amount of concern on the commercial side of things where the time frames are still low but you have to appreciate commercial applications are more complex,” he said.

Unfortunately we are amongst the 62 % of unprocessed consents.  This is driving us insane. Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/9979983/Consents-still-a-struggle-for-city

Also of interest along the same theme, I notice that some one has finally talked about the quality of the building consents being submitted.

“Canterbury Registered Master Builders Association immediate past president Clive Barrington said council had improved consent times and communication. He felt the council deserved its consenting powers back, and said builders and developers could do more to help by presenting “impeccable” consent paperwork”. : Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10065962/Slow-consents-anger-industry

I read an article a few days ago about wanting to give up on Christchurch.  Amongst my family and friends in our age group this is a very common theme of conversation.  We believe that Christchurch will not be rebuilt in our lifetime and we may as well go.  Unfortunately some of us are stuck until the issues work themselves through the system. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/10000094/Secretly-wanting-to-give-up-on-Chch

Anyway moving on!

The Innovation precinct is in tatters!  hah ha, no surprises there, as their key anchor tenants the Epic Centre has indicated that they are pulling out.  This made us all roar with laughter.  “After months of delays, founders say land prices are too high and the Government’s planning process is taking too long.”  The bit that puzzled me was that Gerry says:  Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said he had no concerns about the progress of the innovation precinct, but it was “disappointing that EPIC have decided they can’t continue there”.   “No concerns” about progress in the Innovation precinct?   hello????   you had a look at it lately Gerry?  Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/10003855/EPIC-pulls-out-over-innovation-precinct-saga

It is with some sadness that I note that many sites in the Innovation precinct are starting to change hands.  The character of the zone is going to be changed.  It looks like the remaining structures left in this area, all of them repairable will be demolished.  Demolition by neglect I am afraid. This is the spot where we think Vodafone is going to build some 5 storey glass fronted concrete monstrosity. Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/10057903/Plans-to-rebuild-precinct-ruined

I see that the wheels are falling of the CCDU plans… also note the use of the word “designations may be lifted”  – it pops up multiple times in the Press articles.   Soooooo…..  who is right????????

The Christchurch Central Development Unit appears to be reviewing its strict approach to the recovery blueprint as it realises more flexibility is needed to rebuild the central city, a local developer says.

Central business district landowner and developer Ernest Duval, who also fronts the City Owners Rebuild Entity group, said the CCDU had ”come to a realisation” that its bold recovery plan was not going to work in all anchor project areas.”

… Minister Gerry Brownlee said it was not the CCDU that was changing its plan but instead property developers ”starting to see the value of what we are doing”. 

Duval rightly points out that: “They could have achieved a very similar outcome by engaging with property owners and letting them use their insurance proceeds to redevelop.”

The south frame, which runs from Hagley Ave to Madras St between Tuam and St Asaph streets and includes the health and innovation precinct – had always been earmarked for mixed use, Isaacs said.

The Crown was still considering what land it needed to buy for public spaces and laneways, but if a property was not required, the land designation may be lifted.

“So far designation had been lifted on three innovation precinct properties – the Buddle Findlay building, Alice in Videoland and C1 Espresso and the Tai Poutini Polytechnic at 191 High St.”

Confused???? re the designations????  me too and we live here! Link Here to full article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9964116/Blueprint-options-reviewed

On a more interesting subject, I see that I am about to be joined in the street with a new bar. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/10070356/Desolate-yet-still-hip-the-lanes-call-Johnny-back    Welcome back Johnny.  High Street is certainly a changed place.  I look forward to coming down for a quiet wine and one of your great fish burgers!  By the way, my cousin tells me that there is a name for those of us who are afraid of running out of wine.  Thanks Tristan.

New Word!

New Word!

I enjoyed the comment from Sam at C1. “And it was Sam whose hype I eventually bought into when deciding where I wanted to put down some roots and open my new business. “This part of town is a much more natural fit for your family. It’s a bit scruffier,” he says.”  My sentiments exactly.   I can not help but wonder if the folks at CERA/CCDU want a nice neat ordered city, where the night life and character is hidden behind mirror glass and concrete and all life is snuffed out.

I was sent a link to a blog the other day about the changes happening in K road in Auckland. Link Here: http://tuliathompson.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/karangahape-roadthe-need-to-protect-queer-trans-migrant-poor-and-vulnerable-presence-in-the-city/
It was a very thoughtful article. Seems to me that the redevelopment of K road and Christchurch is all about money and power (poor old K road is probably going to have to relocate now. As you know, once an area starts to get fashionable the rents will rise and much of its nature will be lost.)

I liked K road for the same reasons I liked this area.  it had personality.

I suspect that the cities “soul”, is also to men like Issacs et al all about big business and money.  They certainly do not want a K road area in Christchurch.

That was why the old High/Lichfield st area was starting to stand out as a quirky area. We had no money but had ideas and a difference. A place for all of us odd balls to accumulate.

I suspect that men like Issacs, Gerry and all these business men types in charge, are afraid of bohemian types, they hate to be seen as “different”  where as we free thinking High Street types are not ashamed of our free thinking, acting behaviours.

hey this is pretty profound for first thing in the morning!

So, what have we been up to…

  • The leak detection team has been busy, we think we may have found the problem:  As usual with leaks we found: A leaking sewer pipe, cracks in the concrete plaster, a blocked drain … and a dripping hot water cylinder over flow pipe.  Our money is on the overflow pipe, but we need rain to prove it!
  • The “leak team” has also done some plastering on the front of the building,  to repair some of the worst of the earthquake damage to the plaster. Trying to make upstairs leak proof.  We have not finished with the plastering yet.  We have done some work to stave off the worst of the winter rain, but the final plastering will have to be done in the spring. We are in the process of getting a mould made of the fancy stuff, it wont’ be as pretty, but hey its a repair not a rebuild.P1000053
  • The paint team has also been busy on the front windows.  I must confess that being 14 metres up in the air in a cherry picker, with brother Joe as a “driver” is certainly interesting. A not to be repeated event, I hope.
  • As you know we are still waiting for Amended building consent. That goes back to the CCC today.
  • Much to my astonishment CERA is planning to do some “make safe” on our neighbours building. It will involve some clearing of bricks on one side.  But on the other side they are going the whole hog and getting a brick layer in to re-point the brickwork on the frontage.  This is the neighbour BBS Australia Ltd, who owes us money for work done to our party wall and the securing of the pediment. They will also be doing some plying, and propping. Miracles do happen????
    the brickwork needs tending to on the pediment of the neighbour.

    the brickwork needs tending to on the pediment of the neighbour.

    • The street at the moment is being dug up to replace the sewer pipe which was munted in the earthquakes.  What a shambles.  It has been less than pleasant as they struck the old tram tracks which had to be ripped up. We had about a week of shaking, banging and crashing.  But the worst is over and the contractor was very helpful.
    • All in all, still stalled by Building Consent Issues.

Status Normal.  SNAFU – Have a great weekend, and don’t come to Christchurch.