Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The greening of the Red Zone

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  • Stupid,

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    In a similar light as your "you're being watched" squatters tag... this sign was erected in Palmers Rd, I took this on Feb 24 — two days after the big one, and looting was already in full swing...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    They need to keep the area tidy. I'm assuming that Gerry Brownlee is already working with his developer mates to designate the liquefaction issues as "solved" and start subdivision sometime after the next election.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Gerry Brownlee is already working with his developer mates ... start subdivision

    Conjures an image of red zone water boatmen using Brownleean motion and other bottom dwellers repopulating the area by mitosis - probably a personal problem...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Olly Buxton,

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    There is something wonderful and humbling about how quickly nature reclaims her territories. Near where I live in North London there is an ancient cemetery, the Islington and St Pancras cemetery, which is long since full and there seems to be a program of giving the older graves and sections back to the earth. And so quickly she takes them.

    United Kingdom • Since Sep 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    We're in Burwood, and much of our old neighborhood is red-zoned. There are still quite a few houses to be removed, including one lonely one just opposite the intersection with Locksley Ave... it's a bit curious what's holding up the demolition of that one.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    They need to keep the area tidy. I’m assuming that Gerry Brownlee is already working with his developer mates to designate the liquefaction issues as “solved” and start subdivision sometime after the next election.

    The land is almost certainly uninsurable.

    EQC is this year assessing thousands (about 8000 -- maybe more) of occupied properties in the city as to Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability (ILV) or Increased Flood Vulnerability (IFV) caused by the earthquakes. As a result of that, payouts will be made to owners of land damaged in those categories, or remediation of the land will be done by EQC.

    That land compensation and assessment criteria is what the court case was about late last year. EQC went to court to have certain rulings made on those things, and insurers, the city council and residents (including the Flockton cluster) joined the hearing in various ways

    Land cover is provided by EQC, not the private insurer, and basically covers within eight metres of the house/garage up to a maximum of 450sq m (with a whole lot of inclusions and exceptions). The residential red zone was created because the government realised the land would be unable to be remediated in a cost-effective manner: the extensive liquefaction and flooding over large areas made that obvious.

    There's no way EQC will be able to get reinsurance for red zone land: it's way too risky. Therefore no way private insurers will cover building houses.

    I'm outlining all that because, yes, there are "issues" in Christchurch. But cheap shots are more unhelpful to the desperate than to Gerry Brownlee.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A friend works for a big arborist/tree-surgery company; he's been touring the red zne with CCC staff, identifying the trees worth saving and those likely to self-seed and be a nuisance. So someone's onto the situation, though he didn't say what the next step will be.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Hebe,

    We really were looking forward to rebuilding on our River Rd section near Banks Ave, it was a lovely area of town to live; close to the CBD, a good little cafe scene developing in Stanmore Rd, Palms Mall not far away, plus doctors schools etc. But not to be...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    We really were looking forward to rebuilding on our River Rd section near Banks Ave

    I can see why. In fact I think the gathering of foragers when I was around there could have been at your old neighbours' place.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Yes Rob, the land has sunk - our River Rd section is about a metre lower than it was. Standing on it now you look up to Banks Ave School, but we used to be level with it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Hebe,

    Probably at Eric Scott's old house nearer to the Banks Ave corner, he had a massive vege garden & orchard.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    I was quite amused to see that there was quite a long section of River Road signalled as closed, and everyone seemed to be merrily ignoring the order.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Thanks for the photos, Russell. Once again you’ve gone where I wasn’t brave enough to go.

    That picture with the Port Hills in the background is particularly striking. I know that area well, and seeing only the ghosts of human habitation is nightmarish. Pre-quake Chch was such an orderly place. Even small changes to the city would be debated passionately, sometimes for years.

    I’ve just been reading Keith Ng’s piece in Tell You What: 2015 .

    I don’t understand how people can look at the world which the IPCC describes, mouth the words that “climate change is a very serious issue” and simply assume that it would be the same world of flat whites and iPhones that their children inherits. I don’t understand how people can accept science describing a world with food and water insecurity, with freak heat waves and droughts and hurricanes, and just believe that their world will continue as is.

    Your children may not enjoy a world of growth and prosperity. Your grandchildren may not live in a world of safety and security. Your great-grandchildren may not have three meals a day.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    In America, there's been a similar effect of reclamation by the trees in a number of suburbs, most notably in Detroit. Only that the earthquake was a financial one - the sub-prime housing bubble burst - instead of a physical one.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    That picture with the Port Hills in the background is particularly striking. I know that area well, and seeing only the ghosts of human habitation is nightmarish.

    I found it far less troubling than it was when the empty houses were all there. There's a sense that something's been settled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There’s a sense that something’s been settled

    Or, unsettled! Disinhabited.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Petyt,

    I've been out of the country since late 2011 so I'm not really up to speed with the whole Red Zone issue but I'm surprised to hear that engineers haven't been cautiously promising some kind of fix for those that don't want to connect to utilities as someone mentioned earlier. I was under the impression that you could build on virtually anything as long as you're willing to drive piles deep enough (5, 10 ,15 , 20 metres or more?)

    Anyway, Hebe's proposal sounds much nicer. I'm sure it can't offer all the answers but the example of Milnethorpe in Golden Bay may be of some use. In my lifetime of forty years it has gone from scrub to wonderful forest. Purists don't like it because Dick Nicholls (who undertook the work almost single handedly) used fast growing eucalypts but the natives are coming along nicely now. If anyone is in the area, check it out.

    Japan • Since Apr 2014 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Russell Brown,

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    I found it far less troubling than it was when the empty houses were all there

    I haven't looked at these for a long time. They date from Feb 2012. In River Rd and Lois Place. In a couple, the house numbers can be read on the plywood. Funny, in a way I find it more troubling now with all the empty spaces, wondering about the lives lived and livelihoods lost there.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

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    I'll have to put these up individually.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

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    And this one in Lois Place.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

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    And a view along River Rd.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    You may be interested in the Avon-Otakaro Network’s vision for the Avon River red zone. Also I’ve come across this recent project report by post-grad geography students A Future for the Avon River in which they gauged the community perspective on the implementation of constructed wetlands within the residential red zone as a viable method of treating storm water contaminants.

    Not surprisingly, their proposal would need to gain the support of the wider community surrounding the wetlands proposal; a diminishing community with probably other things on their still coming to terms with their collective and individual losses.

    Whether decision-makers would take ideas like this into account is a moot point. The government’s agents haven’t listened to the public so far in regard to the highly-contentious proposal to reconfigure Victoria Square.

    ‘Community participation’ - which amounts to an on-line survey! - is nevertheless underway. For those interested (and I certainly am), do Share Your Thoughts via The Future for Victoria Square. Feedback closes 24 April.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Ashley Campbell,

    Gregor Ronald - do you know what company your friend works for? Greening the Red Zone's ecologist Glenn Stewart also consults CERA about native trees that should be saved (many of them in patches of bush we manage) and frequently the wrong ones are felled for no reason at all. All these guys should be talking to each other and working together!

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2015 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

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    Things come down
    things go up
    the great cycle of renewal continues...

    oh and there was a magnitude 4 earthquake out by Oxford this morning, I didna feel it in town though...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    Not sure where the best place for this but along with recent Chch-focused posts (80s music, and this, greening the red zone), we now have a potential new one, the form of the regional council (ECan) after the 2016 elections.

    Out today, Environment Canterbury Review: A discussion document Govt agencies are seeking feedback on a proposed mixed-model governance structure.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

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