Adding duress, Christchurch #eqnz


This post has been changed on receipt of information from Christchurch to confirm The Press mis-reported which building had been demolished in Hereford Street.

On Friday, a week-long moratorium on demolition was announced for Christchurch, a pause… it didn’t save the Old Trust and Loan building,
and the Olympia building.

Copy supplied:

“Unfortunately Saggio di Vino has gone and they had done so much to try and save it since the first quake. The most appalling thing though is that as well as demolishing the old Trust and Loan building over the weekend – an important Mountfort commercial building, which was badly damaged and probably had to come down, but should have been taken apart carefully – they also demolished the strengthened Olympia building next door which housed Vivace, a popular café.

The owner was not notified, even though he was known and had been part of the delegation. He is furious. They had told Civil Defence that they wanted to get out equipment and the Olympia was not dangerous at all.

All the books in the bookstore on the top floor were destroyed as well, so two tenants have had their livelihoods destroyed in the process of taking down a strengthened and largely undamaged building. It also took them ages to destroy the built-in safe (and what was inside it) from the Trust and Loan.

In the process of this demolition of the pair of buildings they also knocked a hole in the wall of Shands Emporium, the little wooden commercial building next to the NZHPT Southern Regional Office building (Shands was wrongly reported in The Press as having come down).

So much for the moratorium. Was it over-ruled from above or by council officers, some of whom it seems have considerable sway over what has been happening.

The owner of the above buildings who been very responsible about strengthening his buildings has also been denied permission to bring his engineer and builder into the city to ensure that ones which are still standing can be shored up to stop further damage happening from the aftershocks. Because they are not listed – but make an important contribution to the character of the city – they could be pulled down with not even the cursory process which applies for listed buildings.”

Anyone reading this has to think, unhappily, on the one hand ’emergency powers’, on the other ‘sick process’. Buildings will have to come down – the wrong people are making some ad hoc ‘demolition’ decisions. Why are they so uninformed, is it Brownlee up their backs? These particular decision makers, on the hoof, are another blight on Christchurch which already suffers too much.


16 March 2011 The Press has made a correction to this item (in italics here).

### Last updated 05:00 15/03/2011
Business people want answers
By Olivia Carville
A Christchurch business owner was shocked yesterday when he learnt his central-city building had been demolished. Peter Scalia, who ran Fortuna Books from Shands Emporium on Hereford St, said neither he nor the building owner or leaseholder had been warned of Sunday’s demolition.

“I want to know who authorised it and why we weren’t contacted. If they can demolish the building I was in without any notification, are they going to do it to other buildings?” he said.

Shands Emporium is still standing. Fortuna Books was part of Shands Emporium but in a separate building.

Scalia registered as a central-city business owner last week to gain access to the building and retrieve essential items. However, he said he never heard from authorities.

“I did everything I knew to do. I am really surprised I didn’t even get called before they bowled it. If they had of given me five minutes in there, I could have grabbed my safe, my passport and other documents. Why was it demolished yesterday, why could it not have been tomorrow? I could have been in there today.”
Read more


Related post:
8.3.11 LostArtChch website to identify items at risk #eqnz

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Stadiums

44 responses to “Adding duress, Christchurch #eqnz

  1. Nick

    You might like to remove that link to Adrienne Rewi’s blog about Shand’s Emporium – the green wooden building shown in her post is in fine shape and was NOT demolished. The concrete building to the right is the one in question.

    {Thanks Nick, for photo confirmation. A query will go to The Press. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      ### Last updated 05:00 16/03/2011
      Christchurch earthquake demolition process ‘a train wreck’
      By Michael Fox – The Press
      A Christchurch contractor has dubbed the process for demolishing earthquake-damaged buildings a “train wreck”. Barry Foster, of Barry Foster Contracting, said his firm had arranged to “deconstruct” the old flour silo in Addington before Civil Defence national controller John Hamilton approved its demolition. Hamilton has defended the demolition, saying Urban Search and Rescue engineers deemed the Lincoln Rd building a threat to nearby businesses and that it could not be stabilised within a reasonable time.
      Read more

      (5.03pm) @ChristchurchCC Deconstruction and Demolition FAQs. Definitions and details about the deconstruction and demolition process: #eqnz #chch

      Related Post:
      15.3.11 Christchurch heritage buildings approved for demolition #eqnz

  2. Elizabeth

    [Antony Gough] said his demolished building, which housed the Vivace Espresso Bar and Fortuna Books, was destroyed because it was the same colour as its badly damaged neighbouring building. “They were different buildings but, unfortunately, I painted them the same colour, and it was a cream day that day. Every building that was cream in Hereford St was demolished.”

    ### Last updated 05:00 17/03/2011
    Christchurch earthquake cordon breach ‘essential’
    By Olivia Carville – The Press
    Frustrated business owners have been forced to breach the inner-city cordon and sneak out essential items for survival. Christchurch property owner Antony Gough said he had no choice but to sneak past the cordon, raid his damaged buildings and pull out critical equipment.
    Read more

  3. Elizabeth

    Here’s more duress. A likeable man, Ath. But on his campaign horse? He’s always pretty much wanted to trounce NZHPT – and now, as he planned and pushed for, he’s on the NZHPT Board. They didn’t see him coming. I most certainly did – we’ve had the odd chitchat about NZHPT. No, it’s not just one-way systems and buses he’s got it in for. This is a history of disrespect to NZHPT – not much of it deserved, although he wouldn’t agree.

    Once I was an active member of the old NZIA and NZHPT brigades. I’m no longer a member of either. I still support what they stand for – even NZIA, a small close-knit family, that has lost its way and fails to market its range of services well – it also fails to support the colleagues who never stopped working the professional disciplines of architecture outside the limits of the ‘private firm’.

    What I see as common to both organisations is the dimunition of roles, resources, leadership and community presence. It’s pretty sad.

    Why kick something Ath, why threaten Christchurch that you’ll leave if you don’t get your way? You’re not a spoiled child in a weird hat and designer gumboots. Maybe we laugh with you – but we don’t trust you enough.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 22 Mar 2011
    Architect of Christchurch recovery wants one-way system scrapped
    Respected New Zealand architect Ian Athfield has issued an ultimatum to Christchurch’s city planners – abandon the one-way system roading network or he refuses to help coordinate the post-earthquake rebuild. Mr Athfield also demanded a rerouting of the city’s bus system, another essential step to attracting more people to a reconstructed central business district.
    Read more

  4. Phil

    Tough break, Ian. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I’m sure there’s still an architect left in this country who hasn’t forgotten that they work for a client, and not the other way around.

    Is Perry Royal still practicing in Christchurch ?

    • Elizabeth

      (2.48pm) @PressNewsroom Demolition firm took valuables, says cafe owner: Authorities have clamped down on Christchurch demolition compan…

    • Elizabeth

      ### Last updated 07:46 23/03/2011
      Architect Athfield not softening
      Source: The Press
      Architect Ian Athfield is refusing to back down from his ultimatum about Christchurch’s development. Today he defended his comments, saying it was “absolutely the best time ever” to have the debate about how the city would look in the future. He was backed by former Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore who said the city now had a “clean slate” that presented opportunities like never before. NZPA
      Read more + Comments

      • Elizabeth

        ### 3:59 PM Wednesday Mar 23, 2011
        Christchurch buildings demolished without owners’ knowledge
        More than 10 per cent of buildings demolished in Christchurch following last month’s quake were levelled without the knowledge of their owners. Civil Defence Minister John Carter gave details about demolition orders in the city in Parliament this afternoon. – Newstalk ZB, NZPA
        Read more

        The Press: Numerous owners not told

  5. Russell Garbutt

    A wide range of comments which were interesting. Athfield is either a visionary or a petulant idiot sums it up.

    What is clear is that a lot of businesses are having to relocate out of the CBD and many are going to be locked up in very long term leases in the suburbs. I would think that many will find that being out of the CBD is not going to be such a negative thing in any case. Just why many large firms have to be in pricey central locations has always been a bit of a mystery to me now that alternative communications are much better developed.

    What is concerning is what appears to be straight theft going on from businesses within the red zone and elsewhere. Institutionalised looting might be a better word for it with demo cowboys right at the forefront. So who is stopping them? Not allowed to be the owners of the property as they are kept out. Not USAR as it isn’t their job. Not Civil Defence apparently. Doesn’t look like anyone so it will be open slather.

  6. Phil

    A lot of lessons to be learnt out of all of this. I think that Civil Defence have been left in charge far too long, and way beyond their level of expertise.

    I recall when there were the big power outages in Auckland that a lot of businesses moved out of the Auckland CBD and were surprised to find that they could continue to function just as well at cheaper non-central sites. A large number never moved back. As you said, Russell, there is no reason why 90% of those businesses need to be crammed into one area. It’s just force of habit, with no real logic. Banks are prime pillagers of the CBD. You only have to look at the number who occupy the prime corner lots at the George Street intersections. They do nothing to enhance the character of the region. A city centre should be a point of focus for the city residents and for tourists, drawing them in. Banks and corporate offices do nothing to encourage that. People will go to wherever their bank is. I haven’t met anyone who decided to change banks on a whim after walking past a rival bank and admiring their Richie McCaw poster in the window. They don’t need those prime spots.

  7. Russell Garbutt

    Phil, I was thinking a lot more about the opportunities that arise when so much reconstruction needs to happen in Chch.

    I think that if Key is correct in saying that 10,000 houses need to be demolished in Chch and they are awaiting geotech reports on the land, then it is a fair bet that a lot of the eastern suburbs will have to revert to what they had been during the period of the last 10 events on the Alpine fault. Largely fertile swamps that regularly get shaken up.

    The CBD will then no longer be the CBD but the Eastern extremity of the City if it gets rebuilt. But in a discussion last night we were trying to figure out exactly what should be in that focal point of a city. In a city the size of Chch of about 300,000 the suburbs must be a much stronger focal point for businesses. What, apart from cathedrals, churches, libraries and other communal facilities does this city focal point need? Restaurants, cafes – certainly – but many will find if businesses move to the suburbs then that need will diminish.

    We certainly don’t need banks and insurance companies occupying communal spaces.

    The other factor is the already established outer communities like Rangiora and Pegasus. Will it need light rail connections to the city? With the cost of building this running at several million per km, I think it only necessary if the places of work are still concentrated in one centre spot, and the more I think about that, the less reasons I see for going down that route.

  8. Phil

    You highlight a valid point there, Russell. City centres suffer by the title of CBD. It’s just assumed that’s where commercial should be. But there is no real reason for that. You can say that large scale retails requires large scale commercial in order to secure a customer base. But that starts the chicken versus egg argument. Retail will go where ever the customer base is. And that’s why I don’t think Christchurch should be rushing into mass rebuilding in the city centre just yet. If they start rebuilding banks and office blocks where they were, the retailers will move back in, and the city will be no better planned for the future than they were 2 months ago. Would it be so horrible to have a New York style Central Park district ? Retaining the cutural attractions such as libraries, galleries, and theatres. A wonderful oasis.

    I’m personally in favour of the satellite city approach. Canberra was one of the first cities to embrace the concept. Self contained large surburban developments. As you say, the need for large transportation projects disappears almost imemdiately. Christchurch already has that to a large extent, with Riccarton, Hornby, etc. I’ve also thought about Rangiora. That’s a good place for a hub. It links well to Christchurch city, and to the airport. A very good existing roading infrastructure in place. I’ve also looked in the opposite direction, towards Rolleston and Rakaia as business hubs. Rakaia would open up possibilities for people who maybe would rather rebuild in Ashburton, instead of in Christchurch. Again, an excellent existing road network, with plenty of scope for the introduction of a collective transport system running to Ashburton and to Christchurch using the existing networks. No futher to Christchurch airport than it is for an Auckland resident to Auckland airport.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, Phil
      These are the kind of discussions and ideas that would benefit the ‘building mix’ at a couple of the websites mentioned here and other forums. Hope you’ll forward your ideas/reckonings – Christchurch deserves balanced thinking about its future.

      Even better, contact Christchurch City and Canterbury leaders direct.


      I’ve just seen your comment, ro.
      Given Christchurch’s particular land issues I’m thinking something different to ‘what has been’ will be entirely necessary and yes, at different locations. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to suggest a quake-free future.

      Building-anew (rather than re-building) is how I see it should happen – given the cost of the February 22 quake to the regional and national economies. For business reasons alone I have to think New Zealand can’t afford to quickly rebuild a city in a prone landscape. But that’s not a Brownlee follower speaking. Not seeing the current Pegasus style as the answer, but the location is good. Quite a few friends have retired to Rangiora because of its location and potential…

      So I come back to what Paul Le Comte has been advocating for years, the sort of wisdom that Vancouver urban design and planning delivers on.

  9. ro

    Russell, your vision sounds to me like the featureless suburbia of much of strip-belt America. The future that city planners have been doing their utmost to avoid for Dunedin, but that the development of suburban shopping malls in Christchurch had largely already brought to our benighted neighbour. And Phil, there isn’t a city in the Southern Hemisphere more unfriendly to the pedestrian than Canberra. Please don’t wish such a future on Christchurch.

  10. Russell Garbutt

    One of the things that we often think about when we are going from place to place is “just what is it that makes this place?”

    Sometimes I’m baffled by that question, but the reality is that once a community gets over a critical mass, it suddenly needs a whole lot more things and expands almost without check. Wanaka is a prime example whereby for years it was well below a critical mass and most things had to be “imported” from Alexandra or Dunedin. All of a sudden the growth spurt demanded builders, plumbers, electricians and other trades and they needed schools and dentists and then (heaven forbid) lawyers and accountants who needed cafes and places that made coffee from something other than Gregg’s tins of instant. They needed more infrastructure and all of a sudden the place was over a point which I think can be quantified quite accurately. Queenstown went over that critical figure some years previously.

    And so with a large community. As I was saying last night, I would be hard pushed to come up with the top 10 reasons why people live in Chch in terms of employers or industries. University, hospital – but they are largely the result of people living there. What is the driving industry and rationale for Chch that preceeded those?

    I started thinking about Dunedin in this light as well, and I couldn’t see any reason why many activities could not be a little more distributed round the suburbs – the difference is that we as a city tend to be confined to the land round the harbour. Chch is unconfined in almost all directions and has consequently spread in all directions, but now I suggest that the east is out, the old CBD should be developed for all those communal things we have talked about, and things like acres and acres of used car yards should be gathered together in specific places. I am a great fan of areas of similar interest – the dining areas of Melbourne are a great example. We even see this a bit in Dunedin. Try counting the places that you can get a meal, have a coffee or a drink bounded by Moray Place. Quite staggering.

    In many ways the challenge of the Chch rebuild is an exciting one, but I have one area of caution, and that is it remain vulnerable to a lot of damage from the Alpine fault and possibly that, apart from hair-brained schemes of mad architects, is the over-riding thing that needs to be thought of.

  11. Russell Garbutt

    ro, I don’t have a vision of strip built America at all. And I have heard Bill Bryson talk about Canberra. But look how Canberra came about. Wasn’t it designed by people who were supposed to be qualified in urban design?

    What I’m saying is that you don’t have to have a single place where everything happens. The concept of having all the banks surrounding a cathedral is to me, sort of bizarre.

    But I can’t see anything inherently wrong or worth considering about putting things like accountancy companies, bank head offices, insurance companies, in areas outside areas of communal interest. When was the last time you actually went to a bank? They even charge more if you front up instead of “interfacing” with them on-line.

    What I’m more interested in is trying to come up with a list of the sorts of places that should be at the heart of a city. Theatres, churches, museums, art galleries, places of repose, cafes, restaurants, spaces for walking and relaxation, maybe bookshops……I can’t see why there needs to be that which can be provided closer to the residential areas.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, confess I still haven’t recovered from my last intensive NZIA jury visit to Wanaka district… still angry!

      • Elizabeth

        (11.56pm, via @edmusik) Must-read blog from a CBD business owner

        • Elizabeth

          ### Last updated 05:00 26/03/2011
          Till system from demolished cafe turns up on West Coast
          By Amy Glass
          A special till system has been sold by an earthquake demolition company to a West Coast hotel, a Christchurch information technology specialist says. Phil Hopkins said a Reefton hotel contacted him for advice on the touch-screen till system he had installed for a Christchurch cafe before it was demolished after the September 4 quake.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth


          (1.32pm) @NewstalkZB Red Zone thefts: Two demolition companies cleared for Christchurch’s Red Zone have lost their accreditation for …

        • Elizabeth

          ThePress/NZStuff falls far short with this one. Comment parading as reporting. Where did Lois Cairns get her engineering degree? Oh right, she doesn’t have one.

        • Elizabeth

          ### Sun, 27 Mar 2011 6:09p.m.
          ChCh business owners concerned about vulnerable possessions
          By Juanita Copeland
          With a mounting list of buildings to be demolished, authorities have allowed increased numbers of demolition and constructions worker into the red zone. But two small demolition companies have had their accreditation and access to the red zone removed. “Their employees were involved with the police and police had reason to believe they were doing things they shouldn’t have been, so on that basis we’ve excluded them from the red zone,” says Civil Defence national controller Steve Brazier.
          Read more + Video


          ### Last updated 20:14 27/03/2011
          Demolition company banned from Christchurch CBD
          A demolition company will no longer be working in Christchurch’s quake-damaged CBD after Civil Defence withdrew its accreditation. After receiving information police on Friday, Civil Defence withdrew accreditation for one demolition company and one person attached to another company, Civil Defence national controller Steve Brazier said. “It was for being spotted in an area they shouldn’t have been and doing things they shouldn’t have been doing,” he told NZPA.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### 11:20 AM Monday Mar 28, 2011
          Quake: Outrage over penthouse crane visit
          By Cullen Smith – Star Canterbury
          Frustrated central Christchurch business owners prevented from entering the earthquake red zone to retrieve vital records are angered that a high profile property investor and hotelier was able to hire a crane to get car keys and clothes from his 13th floor penthouse.
          Read more



          (8.44pm) @adzebill Still amazed that the Dux owner’s been evicted by the Arts Centre after 33 years (and found out about it in the media). #eqnz

        • Elizabeth

          ### Last updated 11:50 29/03/2011
          Five-year task for Christchurch earthquake recovery agency
          By Martin Kay and John Hartevelt / Stuff
          A new stand alone government department with widespread powers has been created to manage the rebuilding of Canterbury following the devastating February 22 earthquake. Prime Minister John Key said the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) would operate for five years, with its operations reviewed annually. The interim chief executive would be deputy State Services Commissioner John Ombler.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          The part that freaking hurts: it would be “next year before any significant construction could begin”. NZHerald Link

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Mar 2011
          Editorial: From crisis to reconstruction
          Not a moment too soon has come the Government’s formation of a new body to drive its long-term recovery plan for Christchurch. Yesterday Prime Minister John Key and Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Christchurch Earthquake Recovery, launched the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), to provide “leadership and co-ordination of the ongoing recovery effort in Canterbury”. Cera will be established early next month as a stand-alone Government department and will have a lifespan of five years, with its operations reviewed annually.
          Read more


          ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Mar 2011
          Opportunity knocks for rebuilding
          Peter Lyons argues that the Government and banks could combine to develop large-scale affordable housing projects to rebuild Christchurch.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          John Key
          Prime Minister, NZ
          News release

          29 March 2011
          New authority created for Canterbury rebuild

        • Elizabeth

          ### Wed, 30 Mar 2011 6:04p.m.
          Lyttelton Port under fire over rubble dumping
          By Jeff Hampton
          The Lyttelton Port in Christchurch has what could be described as rubble trouble. The company that runs the port has been accused of using the Christchurch earthquake to by-pass Environment Court permission to expand its facilities.
          Read more + Video

        • Elizabeth

          ### Last updated 05:00 03/04/2011
          Insurer faces quake exposure test
          Rob O’Neill and Rob Stock – The Press
          AMI Insurance, the private insurer most heavily exposed to the Christchurch earthquake, expects its $600 million of reinsurance cover to be “tested” by claims and is scoping options to raise capital.
          Read more


          ### Last updated 05:00 02/04/2011
          Sewerage system on brink of failure
          By Ben Heather – The Press
          Christchurch’s sewerage system is on the verge of collapse, threatening to blanket the city in an “almighty stink” till Christmas. Christchurch City Council water and waste operations maintenance manager Mike Bourke said staff were working furiously to fix the quake-hit sewerage system, but it remained on a “knife-edge”.
          Read more

  12. Phil

    But, hey, they are prioritising the Casino. Funny if it weren’t true.

    • Elizabeth

      ### 6:50 PM Saturday Apr 2, 2011
      Christchurch Casino could reopen elsewhere
      Hundreds of staff at the quake-damaged Christchurch casino, who have been given the stark choice of taking redundancy or unpaid leave, were given a small ray of hope by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee who indicated the business could reopen. NZPA
      Read more


      ### Last updated 05:00 03/04/2011
      Plan for shattered lives
      A union pleaded today for the rebuilding of earthquake-shattered Christchurch to include a plan to reconstruct the shattered lives of the city’s people. The Service and Food Workers Union said CERA’s five-year lifespan must include the implementation of a five-year-plan for government investment in infrastructure and industry with a job retention and job creation focus. NZPA
      Read more

      • Elizabeth


        (11.34am) @PressNewsroom Canterbury trade drops an estimated 55%: Canterbury’s domestic trading activity has fallen an estimated 55 per c…

      • Elizabeth


        (9.09am) @edmuzik So Chch’s infrastructure will be rebuilt by 5 contractors, who will “self-monitor”. Jobs for the boys

      • Elizabeth

        A welcome appointment if Gerry Brownlee can be ‘de-emphasised’…

        ### ODT Online Tue, 17 May 2011
        Editorial: Leading Christchurch’s recovery
        The appointment of a chief executive to lead the recovery operation in Christchurch is a definitive and positive step forward. The reaction to the naming of Roger Sutton, chief executive of Christchurch line company Orion, to head the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has been greeted with almost unanimous approval. Here is a person who has, by wide acclaim, already proved himself in the wake of the two earthquakes through managing the fraught process of restoring electricity to homes throughout the Canterbury region.
        Read more

  13. Elizabeth



    (8.54pm) @adzebill Property owners should be able to salvage the native timber from their buildings, but it’s all going to the dump.

  14. Phil

    I think Gerry lost interest once he saw that none of the CBD pie shops were open.

  15. Phil

    One year to take the hotel down ? I had a feeling that progress in Christchurch had ground to a rather unassuming halt. This probably confirms that. Had they still been holding RWC games in Christchurch, that hotel would have been down weeks ago. Now there’s no football, it’s the forgotten cty. Tragic.

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