The American news website Vice says Christchurch is still in a mess 4 years after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes, adding it has become a “city of car parks”
Far from normal
“…four years later Christchurch has become a city of car parks. Around 1,500 buildings have been demolished, leaving a city the size and planning density of Adelaide full of open space.
There are still a handful of skyscrapers around, but they’re mostly boarded up and condemned. Steel frames hold smaller buildings in place, but with an emphasis on slowing degeneration, rather than reconstruction. That’s not to say there hasn’t been improvement, but you’d think from the lack of news that Christchurch is back to normal. The truth is that the city has scars, while the inner city is still far from normal…”
The article is going to cause dismay in the Christchurch business community, desperate to attract tourism and trade back to the broken town.
The author is Julian Morgans, who was shown around by 28 year old Deon Swiggs, owner of the site rebuildchristchurch.co.nz which is also a forum for victims to “share stories and express their disillusionment over insurance payouts.”
Swiggs’ approach is “grassroots and open-source, which he says annoys the local government, but reduces the red-tape in reconstruction.”
Interestingly, the much of the building is in the hands of private developers. Which is bound to raise concerns about kickbacks and incentives.
Christchurch City Council has recently announced it has a $1.2 billion shortfall. Councillors are looking at selling off asset shares to raise much needed cash (source).
It’s been more than 4 years since the first quake and the CBD has yet to receive investment.
“What most people don’t realise is that rebuilding is in the hands of private developers,” (says Swiggs). “Developers build where people want to live or work, which is why there’s been more development outside the central city than within.” He explains that buildings in the CBD buildings were much taller, and subsequently more damaged, which makes the area a daunting investment for developers. An area of substantial rebuilding is the government office area, where public money spent on repairs has brought people back to work and encouraged the confidence of private investors. In short, investment follows investment, and the CBD is yet to be invested in…”
This is the ruins of the PricewaterhouseCoopers building. Demolished 2 years ago it was once the tallest building in town
There are other photographs, including dusty “time capsule”cafes and offices still littered with coke cans and coffee cups. There are facades that are pinned in place while the shops behind disintegrate.
There are so many support structures in place the rest of New Zealand must be seriously short of scaffolding. In places shipping containers are stacked three high, retaining long ago damaged walls which appear to be slowly falling into decay.
This image is of the night club end of the city
Swiggs is complementary about a mural initiative to brighten up some of the blank walls that still remain. He likes that there is some colour now and says
“I like the idea that we’re moving towards a better city. And honestly, I can’t remember what it all looked like anyway.”
After 4 years it’s appalling that they’re “still moving towards” that better city and still have a long way to go.You can read the full article here
Falling under remit of Jerry ‘Barger’ Brownlee, the lack of progress in Christchurch has been diabolical. Stop dragging this thing out and get this town fixed for the good of everyone concerned. There’s six more years to go.
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The engineer who designed the failed Canterbury Television (CTV) building “misrepresented his competence” in his work, but has escaped formal punishment.
A disciplinary committee of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (Ipenz) concluded David Harding was working beyond his capabilities when he designed and signed off on the building in 1986.
The CTV building collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people..”
“It looks today like the Christchurch rebuild has withered on the vine. Three years after the quake, and with bare ground marking the places where many buildings once stood, it appears that the Earthquake Commission is giving up on the city…According to an article in today’s paper Fletchers have told their builders to down tools as work is winding down. It appears that the Earthquake Commission is paying off property owners directly and is no longer funding restorative work…”
Christchurch Rebuild is “Hampered by NZ Government” (April 2014)
“About to pay out big bucks to emigrate to Christchurch, NZ to help out with the rebuild?
Wait. Before you do, did you know that there really isn’t much of a rebuild going on, and what there is is painfully slow. That’s deliberate, the process is rumoured to be dragged out for at least the next 10 years so as to provide a fillip to the NZ economy…”
Christchurch and Canterbury then and now, three years after the earthquake (Feb 2014) – Google images of before and after the quake
“A report by global insurance broker and risk management company Marsh has criticized insurance companies in the Christchurch market for being among the world’s slowest to respond to disaster.
Incredibly after major earthquakes in Chile, Japan and New Zealand most claims were settled in Chile within 12 months – by comparison in Christchurch only 16 % were closed within 12 months and 32% within 18. Three years on claims are still dragging on with many still outstanding in the city…”
“Long suffering and angry homeowners, messed about for the last three years are deeply unhappy. Not only are they making heaps of complaints about shoddy work, they’ve also been taking repair workers hostage and threatening them with knives and machetes
One contractor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of an agreement with Fletcher EQR, said there were regular reports of homeowners who were treated badly, but there was little in the public spotlight about the other side of the story…”