Saturday, May 14, 2011

Earthquake Update

Yesterday morning as I was about to leave for work, a courier arrived with a package. He commented that he was supposed to deliver it the previous day but contractors had refused him entry to the street, saying it was "residents only". That surprised me, since there was no evidence that contractors had been in our street - the wonderful blue water pipes are still above ground, and the street still has all its cracks, humps and dips. We live in a little cul de sac off a road that runs along the river. Later, talking to my husband, we figured that he had tried to enter the river road at the end where there is work going on to repair the broken sewer pipe under the river. All he actually had to do was drive round and come in at the other end. No problem, you would think, but apparently it was too hard.

Speaking of the blue pipes - a neighbour told me that they would be dug underground before winter comes, to avoid problems if they froze. Now I am watching anxiously, because winter is getting close - we have already had a few frosts. And there is no sign of action. I'll be making sure our emergency water supplies in the cupboard stay well-stocked.

Some heartening news: a permanent head has been appointed to CERA (the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery authority). He is Roger Sutton, head of Orion, the electricity lines company who did an amazing job of restoring power to the city after the quake - and communicating effectively what was being done. His appointment seems to have met with universal approval, as residents hope that what needs to be done will be done effectively, quickly and with a high degree of transparency. Let's hope disillusion doesn't set in as no doubt not all his decisions will meet universal approval. In particular the tension between those who say "demolish it all and open up the city" and those who want particular buildings saved at all costs will be hard to neogtiate.

I'm not so pleased with New Zealand Post who have announced that the Post Shop in Sydenham - my nearest until our local shopping centre can be rebuilt in about a year's time - will not reopen. It is undamaged, but the decision has more to do with supposed changed traffic patterns, and no doubt the fact that NZ Post is losing money and is also axing Post Shops elsewhere in the country. Still - if a dairy owner can open up in a shipping container and do good business, surely the Post Shop can reopen and also do good business in an area that is rather short of options.

I'm still travelling to the extreme north of the city to collect mail for Takahe magazine from the mail sorting centre by the airport. This is because our Post Office box is in the central city inside the cordon. We haven't been offered any good options at this stage if we want to keep the same box number. It's classed as a business account even though we make no profit - so a two months free redirection is the best they can offer, after that we would have to pay. So far, I've combined it with other trips but my business in that part of the city will be coming to an end soon.

Yesterday it shrunk from a full day's work to four hours. Which left me time after collecting the mail to check out my favourite bookshop, Scorpio Books, now relocated. The good news is that their new premises are considerably more spacious than the old shop inside the cordon - and that they have been allowed in for long enough to retrieve their stock, though some is damaged by dirt and grit blowing in the broken windows. The bad news is that their new shop is in Riccarton Road - now the busiest, most traffic-choked part of the city. They tell me there is parking out the back. That helps, but it doesn't help with the slow journey sitting in traffic on the way there.

The photo at the head of the post was taken in Merivale, where the mall is still open, despite the facade of these shops on the street side having fallen down. I've been intending for a while to stop by and take a photo of this large papier mache mushroom which I find intriguing - finally got round to it on the way to work yesterday.


Chibi Janine said...

Gosh it never really occurred to me how long it takes to clean up after a disaster like this. This is because as soon as a new disaster takes place the main stream media drops what they consider old news and move onto the next thing and never looks at the people who are working to rebuild their lives and communities.

I hope the winter is not too harsh for you and things get sorted soon.

Kathleen Jones said...

Thanks for this Catherine - it's good to keep everyone reminded that it's certainly not 'all over'. I was in the Sydenham post shop not long after the Sept quake, so I could picture your journey. My daughter's just sold her house in Sydenham and is moving out to Prebbleton where the after-shocks are dying down. She got a cheap house which had been damaged int he Sept quake and they don't mind a 'doer upper', being young and energetic!
I do hope you get it all sorted b efore winter sets in properly. Water pipes above ground are not good!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Gosh, how long the chaos is lasting! Sorry to hear that! Hope the pipes at least get sorted before winter!

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh and that photo is amazing!