How not to repair a heritage building in the Christchurch CBD- 4 years on…

This is great…. a story on High street. Written by Will Harvie, Christchurch Press. Interesting!

“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spent $1.82 million buying heritage properties on High St it no longer needs.”

The funny bit is that never actually needed these units, they just never thought the issue through properly. It was obvious 4 years ago that this is a Heritage block and should be treated as such.  They had no need to buy it.  Now 4 years later they have finally seen the light.  4 years too late, 4 years of neglect and inactivity. Frustrating, as it has stalled progress.  We are the only street still fenced off in the city.

Link Here:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67535001/Cera-spent-1-8m-on-extra-land

I do admit to being a tad confused though. I had been told on the 4th of March 2015, by the CCDU  that the remaining 7 Duncans Units,  would be sold as is where is. This article says that “Engineers are still assessing the units to investigate options.”  My gosh how long does that take you???  4 years????

Okay, so is it a repair or a sale????

Regarding the now near mythical lane way at the rear of the building:
Here is the latest plan as published by the Press.

Lane way plan number ?????   This one makes sense! Finally.

Lane way plan number ????? This one makes sense! Finally.

Okay, so if the latest plan in the press is correct, we will end up with a lane way at our doorstep.  That’s good for me and not so good for the other building owner.

Fine now give it to me in writing so that I can rebuild our back lean-to block.  Because I don’t trust you to tell me the truth and you may just change your mind in the morning.

Funny thing is that when I spoke to the affected building owner 2 weeks ago, even he had not been told the outcome.   In fact he painted the building on Friday, I am sure he would not have troubled to do that if it is to be demolished soon???  Hummn someone better talk to the owner!  (Unless of course, he is pushing the price up by upgrading it.   A Logical plan and one that I was proceeding with as well.)

The article makes mention of the $1.8 million that CCDU has spent on buying buildings it does not need.  What a waste of 4 years as well as a waste of $1.8m. They should have spent it repairing the units.

I notice some wag has been having a bit of fun at CCDU’s expense.  I wish I had a $1 for every photo that the tourists take of these signs.  I could buy and fix one of the units,  lol.

For sale- 7 units, "Handymans dream". Indoor/outdoor FLOW... complete with rats, rubbish and no progress. PHONE THE GOVERNMENT.

For sale- 7 units, “Handymans dream”. Indoor/outdoor FLOW… complete with rats, rubbish and no progress.
PHONE THE GOVERNMENT.

Limbo Land 4 years on.

Limbo Land 4 years on.

The tourists I talk to every day say the same 4 words.

The Europeans say “Stalingrad”, the Irish say “Belfast in the 70’s”,  The English say “London in the Blitz”,  The Americans say “Detroit”.   Sad but true.

PS Regarding the rebuild of my house by Southern Response.  I have been out of it for 14 months.  The average as far as I can work out is about 5-10 hours work on it a week. P1000629

This weeks work as far as I can assess:  Monday less than  60 minutes, Tuesday  approx 2 hours, Wednesday 0, Thursday 0, Friday approx 2 hours.  (The blocks are not filled yet.)

The average house takes about 7000 hours to build I have been told.   I will leave the maths to you…….    Next Christmas???????  This is clearly unsustainable.  It is not surprising that there are a growing number of builders going into liquidation. They do not appear to be able to finish anything.

Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67532555/Canterbury-homeowners-lose-all-their-savings

and here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/67527169/Almost-100-rebuild-related-firms-have-gone-bust-since-Feb-11-quake

Ho Humm just another funny sort of day in a silly city.

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.