Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: #eqnz: Okay?

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    allowing free access to the CBD

    Wait till they have the army and armoured vehicles stopping their free access to their CBD, and Gerry Brownlee let loose on their 'old dungers'...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    I showed up to work this morning in the Wellington CBD to be prevented from entering due to possible nearby collapsing buildings.

    No idea how long before I can go back to work, but betting it will be longer than the "48 hours" they promise, since the building isn't coming down in that time, without a providential quake that resolves the problem.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    The impression I got from the Mayor was a reluctance for the Authorities (central and local) to take responsibility for issuing 'safe or unsafe to enter' notices. "Ask your boss or your landlord."

    It seems to me that the Council can't afford/organise engineer inspections for every building in Wellington, and it seems reasonable to put the responsibility on building owners to organise that; but only the council can say "This area of town is too dangerous and people should stay out - individual building owners can't.

    So basically, I think they need to work together pretty closely.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The fact is, there are but a handful of buildings that have structural issues that might cause injury outside the building, a few more with non-structural issues (glazing, awnings) that might cause problems on the pavement and a fair few (like my work) that are perfectly safe but with facilities or cosmetic issues (like water tanks that failed, soaked the carpets and killed the lifts).

    The media has a vested interested in spreading hysteria to sell papers and get clicks. Yesterday we were told "Terrace Cordoned Off" - it was a stretch of pavement two parking spaces long outside a building that had shed a window.

    I'm very supportive of Justin Lester - I thought he would be useless but now I'm inclined to vote for him again just because of his sensible approach to the 'quake.

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If you can't use a building because the place next door is threatening to collapse on it, is the owner of the dangerous building liable for your expenses as a result?

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

  • Stephen R, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I'm very supportive of Justin Lester - I thought he would be useless but now I'm inclined to vote for him again just because of his sensible approach to the 'quake.

    I was very impressed with the interview he gave from the WREMO offices - he was pretty well informed, refused to be drawn on things he didn't know, and was very clear about what was known, what was unclear, and what people just didn't know yet.

    I don't mind officials saying "we don't know yet" - I much prefer it over them making answers up.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    is the owner of the dangerous building liable for your expenses as a result?

    Methinks this is one of the reasons for the apparent reluctance of the Authorities to issue Grand Proclamations. They will be damned if they do and damned if they don't....

    I don't live in Wellington, but have Bussed through and around the city often. I love Wellington....but...will keep a close eye and ear on the weather and at the slightest hint of an adverse event will head up SH 1 or SH 2 before shit gets real. We have more than once got out just in time.

    One Sunday, on our first visit to Wellington in the Bus, we reconnoitered the CBD in order to find Bus parking with wheelchair access in anticipation of our business on the morrow. We drove up the Terrace...for fun...in an howling northerly...those tall buildings were moving in the wind.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I can't see how red zoning central Wellington would do anything other than add to people's misery. I have to walk an extra 300m around a cordon to get to work, and half my stuff is in a building I can't access, but I can work and so can thousands of other people, including the ones that make sure peoples' salaries get paid. The economic damage is going to be staggering enough without shutting down a sizeable fraction of our economy just in case. This guy says it better than me.

    In any case, I have a renewed sympathy for Christchurchians, not to mention anyone in Kaikoura at the moment. Even the level of inconvenience I've experienced has been exhausting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to B Jones,

    This guy says it better than me.

    Yeah well, though the red zone he refers to is the one that encompassed much of the CBD. While that's gone now, the much larger and totally separate residential red zone, which was never sealed off like the CBD, has now been largely returned to wilderness.

    Apart from red and green stickers, Christchurch also had yellow stickers. Unlike the red sticker of doom a yellow was supposedly provisional - you left with the understanding that it wasn't necessarily final. In practice it almost inevitably was.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    There seems to be an overdue recognition that coastal shipping has/could have a vital role in transport. We get two or three freight updates /day, and they are not about new surcharges in every case. Here's Toll's latest :-

    Latest Update:

    · Inter-Island services continue to operate with restrictions remaining in place.

    · All other destinations within Islands have been serviced as normal, except that delays remain completing deliveries in the Wellington region. The Wellington team have committed to working the weekend to clear the existing backlog of freight.

    · We have commenced discussions with a number of customers regarding the warehousing capacity we have in Christchurch. Our customers are considering this as a way to ease any transit issues the transport industry may experience in the lead up to Christmas as volumes build and congestion may become an issue.

    · Services into and out of Christchurch are being maintained, with some capacity restrictions.

    Blenheim

    We have commenced in full our road bridging and tranship facility in the existing Blenheim branch facility, additional people have joined the team, and we have agreed site works with Kiwirail to extend our siding and footprint on the Kiwirail site.

    With additional resources now in place we will be in a position to commence 24/7 operations and transport services from today.

    Inter-Island Line - Cook Strait

    The Aratere ferry remains berthed in Wellington pending clearance of the Wellington rail span, at this stage the indications are the Aratere could be out of service for 2-3 weeks, we will update this given the impact on our Interisland services as soon as we know more or receive any updates.

    Lewis Pass

    Lewes Pass still remains our preferred route, however we are experiencing congestion, and this journey is now taking us up to 7.5 hours one-way, bridges are down to single lane with a 10km an hour restriction.

    Coastal Services

    We have continued our partnership with Pacifica and increased our volumes on coastal services and will utilise 3 Pacifica services over the weekend from Auckland into Christchurch.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Wondering if other possibilities might be a sea/road link Wanganui to Nelson then inland route south
    and maybe sea to Greymouth then rail through the alps (Though I haven't heard if the west coast rail is open or not to be honest).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to B Jones,

    Last night I went to a fundraising movie at the Paramount. Courtenay Place was buzzing like a regular Friday night. There was a notice on the cinema door that it had been checked for safety, but everyone there probably had a plan about what to do if one of the ongoing aftershocks got a big bigger.

    There are a few cordoned off buildings around the city and the odd street but otherwise things are going on as normal. There are now 17,000 people living in the CBD and many of them are in high rise buildings. The people all survived the big quake(s) on Sunday night, as did the utility services (although there was obviously some water and other damage from sprinklers and flying furniture). There are specific areas where buildings were damaged - mostly out of the main CBD. So red zoning Wellington would mean evacuating an enormous number of people and businesses and basically cutting off Wellington.

    Wellingtonians like me have generally been preparing for earthquakes all our lives. Many of us have always had earthquake kits and stored water. Following the last big ones in 2013 all sorts of systems were improved and now, for example, there are good email communications for building occupants. So from Monday morning, for example, the university had regular emails to staff about the state of its buildings and the checking and cleaning up process and estimates about when they will reopen.

    The City Council and first responders also seem to have pretty good systems. The new Mayor's communications - mainly through social media - have been excellent. He has been very hands on around the town, including standing in the rain praising those clearing slips, doing impromptu videos, and dealing with a surprisingly hostile media. There has been extreme weather and well as earthquakes this week and he has done very well in only his second month in the job.

    So far we have been pretty lucky as the main earthquakes on Sunday night could be considered the big one we have been waiting for, and we survived. But just as there has always been, there could be a bigger one around the corner. This latest experience has encouraged us to improve our own systems even more.

    This is not Wellington smugness. As a Wellingtonian I have always made assessments, probably every day and wherever I am, of what would I do if a big earthquake hit in the next 5 minutes. We've now had a chance to practice. But panicking about closing the city now is not helpful. I also now realise how annoying it must be have been for Christchurch with people out of the city making judgements about what they should do.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    the main earthquakes on Sunday night could be considered the big one we have been waiting for

    the one to fear will be right under the city.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Or more accurately on the Wellington or Wairarapa fault lines. The 1848 earthquake was a 7.5 based in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, and the 1855 8.2 in the Wairarapa. Duration and aftershock reports seem similar to Sunday's. The 1855 one caused the huge uplift of land around Wellington, and the water in the harbour sloshed around like a basin.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    http://nzhistory.govt.nz/massive-earthquake-hits-wellington

    The uplift caused by the quake led to improved transport links. Parts of the road between Wellington and Hutt Valley had been impassable at high tide, but this route was now safe for vehicles and (later) trains. Dangerous sections of the coastal route to Wairarapa were also raised. The earthquake also drained the notoriously swampy lower reaches of Hutt Valley and enabled the creation of the Basin Reserve cricket ground in Wellington.

    Despite its strength, the quake killed only a few people – one in Wellington, two in Manawatū and up to six in Wairarapa.

    And this is a good read...

    Understanding Wellington’s Vulnerability to Earthquakes....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    The 1855 one caused the huge uplift of land around Wellington,

    It's clear that here in P.N. there has been a major shake-up well below us involving the 2 or 3 aquifers closest to the surface, so, from ground level down to about 80 metres.
    Old artesian bores in the shallowest aquifer are now flowing impressively and lagoons are already forming. These old bores are uncapped , and have had a suction pipe inserted to draw water from the bore when artesian head pressures are low.
    The porosity between the lowest -level higher-head aquifer, and the shallow aquifer that these old bore are tapping, has obviously increased considerably.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    those tall buildings were moving in the wind.

    They're built to do exactly that, as they are in most cities. Prevents them breaking.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Farmer Green,

    More instances of overtopping of wells have been seen. There are literally thousands of these bores in the immediate area, and a representative sample has had pressure testing in recent times ; there will be good data.
    In the meantime, more "paleo" water will be dispersed to groundwater than previously , and eventually go down the rivers to the sea. It's very clean, hard water.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Interesting how the earthquake(s) has badly affected one particular area of Wellington - generally around Pipitea Point, while the more risky area of Cuba Street seems to have escaped unscathed. From Centreport, to Asteron House opposite the Railway Station and the Pipitea Campus of VUW, along Featherston Street, up Molesworth Street and Mulgrave Street and along Pipitea Street - there are numerous buildings affected, and most are relatively recently built. Some are slowly reopening after major clean ups but some are structurally damaged and will be out of action for months. Even the enormous historic organ in the Cathedral was smashed. There must have been a lot of very vigorous twisting and shaking in that area. The lower part is on reclaimed land but higher up it was considered safe enough to build the Regional Civil Defence Centre in Murphy Street about 20 years ago. Pipitea Point came through the 1848 and 1855 earthquakes OK. Interestingly the Railway Station, built in the 1930s, is fine.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The post earthquake situation is showing up the power of the large private building owners. A name I recognise was one who opposed the election of new mayor Justin Lester, with a monster attack banner on one of his buildings.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    A name I recognise was one who opposed the election of new mayor Justin Lester, with a monster attack banner on one of his buildings.

    That seems to be something of a Wellington tradition. No doubt you'll recall Bob Jones's "Labour Credibility Barometer" that hung around for probably the entire Muldoon era.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Vaguely. There were also large 'democracy is under attack' banners throughout the term of the last Labour-led government on a certain building in a prominent location.

    Will be fascinating to see what the inquiry uncovers.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

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