marsden_online: (Default)
Reading back over my LJ and FB it looks like I started the year in much the same place emotionally as I am right now, there were quite a lot of individual good days in the company of friends but also some pretty bad patches - May, July, October through now ... I may have made some progress on identifying some of the puzzle pieces ...

My regular Sunday and Monday games were regular high points, other gaming was mixed. Recorded some good games; know I didn't bother griping about many not-so-good ones.

My muse turned on a few times, mostly in February and March but there are a few other substantial opinion posts througout the year.

I'm confident that I made a positive difference in the lives of a number of people over the year; less confident that I didn't impact negatively on anyone.

Politically the world seemed to continue to go to shit, both in NZ and overseas.

Notable events:

February: substantial aftershock just a few days short of the 5th anniversary of the 2011 quake brought everything flooding back for a lot of people.

April: Family reunion in the high country, returned to find an acquaintance had passed to cancer.

June: Buckets of Dice (mixed)
: combined having to get the drains replaced due earthquake damage with getting some substantial garden alterations done above ground, a very expensive month which nevertheless crossed two major projects off the list.

August: Hosted the KAOS 48 Hour Party despite being plagued myself during the weekend.

September: started a new drug/supplement, which didn't seem to help. Discontinued at the end of the 3-month course (wasn't subsidised)

November: SAGA's 48 hour charity event
: "Kaikoura" earthquakes (ongoing)

This year I didn't spend anything on my family for Xmas and instead focused on friends and other acquaintances whom I knew needed some nice things in their lives.

Had the family lunch not been at my relatively close parents I would not have attended that for the first time ever; this was something I was doing for myself as I did not feel up to the effectively full day of travel otherwise would have entailed. I did then end up appearing (and eating) at 3 different socials among friends in Christchurch and was quite exhausted by the end of the day but overall it felt lower-key.

I do appear to have completely exhausted myself physically* (gardening/housework) and mostly exhausted myself emotionally so I am hoping for a good KAOS New Years party tomorrow night to pick me up. Historically this is against the odds.

* My stamina seems to have plummeted over the year. I went to the Dr concerned a few weeks ago and he sent me off for a raft of blood tests, which I haven't heard back from yet.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Most people are probably aware that over the past going on 24 hours NZ has been hit by another series of major earthquakes starting at very just after midnight Sunday/Monday. I had not long gone to bed when it hit so after about 10 seconds of "aftershock" and then ~ 1:20 minutes of "nope, crap, that's a BIG quake inland just getting here" and some minutes on FB checking that no-one in Christchurch itself was reporting major issues I went off to sleep, thus not seeing the tsunami warning and evacuation notices (which didn't affect me anyway) until checking again during a wake around 4am. I figured if anyone needed transport or to shelter at my place I would get a message or txt directly so I slept for another few hours, starting the day feeling not significantly tireder than usual. That wasn't to last.

Fortunately I had already booked the day off work to recover from attending a 48 hour charity event over the weekend (more on that below). The first hour or so I spent touching base with various people by FB and phone before starting on my pre-existing chores list. I didn't get through as much of this as hoped - a somewhat overdue cleaning of the bathroom leaving me physically exhausted and attempting to set the ball rolling on a safety inspection of the Hall further soaked up energy. I eventually spent 2-3 hours napping - in part to shut down some nervous energy and generalised anxiety - before setting out to help a friend with transport and hugs, do the grocery shopping and after a simple dinner deliver some care packages. (One of which had already been on my to-do list but which under the circumstances I bulked up a bit more ;) ) I could tell that I probably shouldn't be driving well before I got home, and if I wasn't waiting for a better time to take my meds I would be back in bed already.

Friday / Saturday I spent about 24 hours total at SAGA's now-annual 48-hour gaming event to raise money for charity (this year AVIVA). I'll just copy and paste from my FB statuses here ...

Saturday 4:30pm
Plays so far:
Colony Wars (obliterated by Daniel Starky's base spam strategy)
Thurn & Taxis (resounding win)
Dominion w. Prosperity (barely last but a long way from the winner)
Broken Eagle the Learned Nano who Combines Words of Power is about to set out into the world of Numenera in search of greater knowledge.

Saturday 10:50pm
After Numenera finished off for the day with a game of Tiny Kingdoms. Didn't do particularly well but probably OK for a first time.
I'd liked to have stayed longer but it is patently obvious that it would be a very bad Idea. If I can get a good sleep tonight I may be able to stay later tomorrow night.

Sunday 3:20am
Didn't get to games until after 2pm but then stayed somewhat longer than expected. Still 3am is no later than I get home from a good party. Cat seems unimpressed by my long absence.
Plays today (pretty sure I have forgotten something)
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Settlers of Catan
DC Heroes
Colony Wars
Zombie Dice
Seven Wonders
Istanbul (new)

... preliminary reports are that we raised well over $1000 if everyone comes through on their pledges. I enjoyed myself - overly much so without really realising it, on the Friday in particular which left me stuck in bed until much later than I had planned on Saturday. I did spend more time and energy than I had hoped taking the lead in deciding on and teaching games; the teaching not so much of a problem (I was actually recommended, to my face, and later even messaged thanks for the fun time someone had as a result). I also made sure one person who probably otherwise would not have made it but I knew would benefit greatly from getting out of the house got both there and home.

As always I experienced more downtime between games than I would have liked, but I had gone prepared for that also with things to do.

Sunday afternoon (you noticed the status update at 3:20AM above?) was spent on a few chores and Sunday evening instead of my usual game we chilled and watched Guardians of the Galaxy which a couple of our members had missed at the theatre. (I am really enjoying the new projector.) I actually went to bed feeling uncommonly relaxed and happy ... and then the quake hit.

That has filled in the time nicely; shortly I will be abed and hopefully will feel much better in the morning. Because otherwise I am /not/ looking forward to work tomorrow.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
"Earthquake brain" is a term coined to describe certain mental symptoms of stress which rear their ugly heads in many people as and after the earth moves. They can range from irritability and trouble focussing to emotional breakdowns. Here in Canterbury the earth has been very active for the past month or so; compounded by this period coinciding with the 5th anniversary of the February 2011 quake and a deliberate neglect of the regions' post-disaster mental-health needs by central government.

I don't suffer directly from earthquake brain (fortunate) but have nevertheless noticed my mental health take a sharp downtick as I worry for the state of my (less-fortunate) friends; which is always top-of-mind after I feel a jolt or a wobble come through.

There are other factors to my mood drop - there always are certain circumstances in Feb/Mar and this year there is a new one.

So I've been feeling run-down, worn out, unenthusiastic about and not focused on work, procrastinating way too much and overwhelmed by my to-do list outside work, and helpless in the face of it all. To get some stuff done and close some loops I took (tried to take) a mental health day last week in conjunction with my monthly psych appointment but that didn't go well overall.
marsden_online: (write)
After all I am one of the lucky ones; not only did I not lose anyone directly in the quakes I even benefited materially from the "repairs" to my home*. My life and work were mostly unaffected and since have continued on a generally upwards trajectory.

*( Like many the assessment was questionable, the workmanship left something to be desired in places and the scope was "tightened" several times between assessment and implementation meaning some things which probably should have been done rather than others were not. But my claim was acted on (un)fairly quickly and my home was still in better condition when they finished than before the quakes.)

If I only paid attention to my own situation or that of people like myself that might leave me content. But my social circles contain many who were not so fortunate. Their homes, lives, families, studies, health ... have been massively disrupted and I do not choose to disregard their experiences and those I read of from further afield. For so many people the past five years have been one battle after another; not all quake related but certainly quake-exacerbated, and so much of it seems to have been unnecessary.

In some ways the February 14th aftershock this year was beneficial. Some people might have been in danger of believing the platitudes which will have been spouted today about how well we are all doing; how well the rebuild is progressing. Instead as PTSD kicked in and "old" responses rose sharply to the surface there was an up-swell of awareness that no, everything is not all right; yes, we still need help.

In the last five years we have seen proof (if there had been any doubt) that the insurance industry is more interested in holding on to its money than in meeting it's contracted obligations. We've seen the one locally owned insurance company which was by nature overexposed to the risk "bailed out" by the government then promptly chopped up; the "good" bit sold off to one of the same overseas re/insurance companies which fights determinedly to not return the money they have taken from other insurees in premiums over the years (IAG) and the "bad" bit put into limbo (Southern Response, which can only progress so far without the goverment actually stumping up some money to cover the work that needs doing).

We have seen that we have a government who are more interested in bottom lines and doing deals with those same insurance companies than in standing up for the rights of the people they purport to represent. More interested in a magical accounting "surplus" than in the wellbeing not only of Christchurch but of the entire country. Only interested frankly, to all intents and purposes to improve the lot of "people like them" no matter the cost to anyone else. Quick to promise financial relief but very slow to spend any money which would not already have been spent.

We have learnt that our EQC disaster recovery fund had already been plundered by the government (through simply directing it to put the money into government-issued bonds), and there is no indication this government has any plan to rebuild it against future need.

We have seen control of "Christchurch's Recovery" taken away from Christchurch from the word "help". Hijacked by people who are more interested in vanity projects (which they then turn around and demand the people of Christchurch make ourselves responsible for paying for) than in the places people live. More interested in cutting costs and corners than in the human cost or actual repair. More interested in being "in charge" than in delivering what a broken city needs.

Today, the 22nd, is a day for reflecting on what we have lost in and around Christchurch. Not just people and buildings but well-being, dignity and agency. So much of which has not been taken by the quakes themselves but by the deliberate actions and inactions of those who claimed the people of Christchurch would be "looked after".

For those outside Christchurch it might be worth thinking about, "if a major disaster struck where you are, what would you lose?"

Emma summed up neatly why in her earthquake anniversary post so I am going to borrow her words to finish. "Because this isn’t about the past, five years on. Things are still happening."
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life
via FB: an in depth look at the life of an 11 year old girl and her family in New York - how they got there, what the future might bring. Very long, 5 parts of mostly heartache and the occasional faint glimmer of hope.
Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.

Nearly a quarter of Dasani’s childhood has unfolded at Auburn, where she shares a 520-square-foot room with her parents and seven siblings. As they begin to stir on this frigid January day, Dasani sets about her chores.

One could be grateful that this is on the far side of the world, clearly someone else's problem. Could say that America does not have even the (increasingly holey) social security net that New Zealand boasts. Share it on Facebook as if to say "how bad the world is, how well we have it" and move along.

The NZ media does occasionally deign to pick up on these same issues in New Zealand - it was the topic du jour for a little while in 2010-11 but it seems unlikely little has changed.
- Entire families living in a relative's garage or multiple families crammed together in one home while they wait for state housing to become available. (2010)
- People's needs for accommodation deliberately not even recorded by Housing New Zealand leaving them with no option but to camp in the worst of private accommodation with no tenants rights (Both 2011 - I think WINZ has taking over determining accommodation eligibility but I have little confidence that anything has changed in practice).
- Garage life for two years (2013)

And I don't need a link for anyone reading this to know what the accommodation situation in Christchurch has been like for the past few years. "Temporary" must be starting to look like "childhood" for many.

The numbers may be debatable - perhaps things have improved in NZ since the first of these articles was written. But in the modern, caring, wealthy society which we supposedly aspire to be one person - especially one child - without even the option of a basic, clean, place to live in should be one too many.

And I am certain that the scope of the problem is still actually far wider than I can glimpse from my comfortable middle-class life. I sense a fear in me, that if I actually go looking I will be overwhelmed at the scale and feel unable to make any real difference - thus I "bide my time" and passively watch for opportunities to help within my means and not detrimental to my own (middle class) goals. Would I open my home to strangers? I've seriously considered it post-quake but decided against for mental health's sake (mine and my flatmate's (even if he agreed to the idea)).

Still we are losing bright children (truth be most if not all children are bright); now more than ever we as a society are throwing away their futures through our own inaction when we have the capacity to do better. A week ago I shared on FB an article about Variety looking for sponsors to help families pay back-to-school costs.
A charity is crying out for donors as poverty-stricken parents seek sponsorship for the back-to-school costs of their children.

More than 170 applications have been made for Kiwi Kid sponsorship so far this year, including 21 from Christchurch, and Variety - The Children's Charity needs more sponsors.

There were already 705 children - 116 from Christchurch - receiving financial support nationwide in its first year, much like that offered to children in Third World countries through World Vision.
At the time I said
This presses *many* of my buttons - children, local poverty, education...
I'm fighting a 3-way battle between reflexively signing up; knowing that I'm supposed to be keeping a tighter reign on my spending this year (and so far have been failing miserably); and feeling I could probably find someone in need that I could give the full $35+ per month to directly.
and at the time inertia won. Now I'm making a commitment to reassess my budget for the year, do some research and commit something regular on top of the irregular amounts I give the phone collectors and occasional worthy givealittle/pledgeme/etc call that comes across my radar - whether through Variety or some other avenue (I wonder if Adopt a Christchurch Family is still actually going).

This topic also conveniently leads into my next post - thoughts on the just-announced Labour party policy of an extra $60/week entitlement for families with newborns possibly following up to the age of 3 years.
marsden_online: (skull)
So the past week as been a bit mixed.

The repairs on the house - specifically the garage which had been delayed - were "completed"* and signed off. Unfortunately when I closed the garage door it didn't go all the way, and when I attempted to remedy this by adjusting the chain (which I have done before) it decided it was going to throw the chain and in the process seems to have buggered the drive-sprocket slightly. So I think I will have to contact the manufacturer and get a tech out. Notch up another $100 I expect :(

* There's a cosmetic crack left in the foundation shell - I really can't be bothered about it. They did far more than required to the garage and I've done pretty well out of the interior.

The other outstanding detail is paying for the write-on-walls extra - hopefully that will get sorted this week. I chased up the relevant sub-supervisor last thing on Friday. (Next week is also a pay-tax week and a pay-rates week and pay-all-the-bills week so it is to be expensive.)

Since last Saturday I have been hit by a fairly substantial head cold on top of bottomed-out mood (compounded by finicky client and raft of urgent projects). As indicated above it would be really useful to be maxing my earnings right now so the hit my hours have taken from these is doubly unwelcome. The cold has mostly cleared as of this morning but I am still dealing with substantial lethargy and apathy. My sleep patterns are quite shot (if phelgm hasn't been keeping me awake the hamster-wheel in my brain has), to the point where I napped from 5-7 this evening and then worked (yes it is a Sunday but you take headspace where you can get it) from 8-9:30.

Luckily last week I managed to put some solid and mostly uninterrupted work into the project I've been most wanting to get to - and that was good. With the work I've done (on another of the projects) this evening I should be able to get directly into it tomorrow as well (touch wood).

Other than sleep I spent most of the weekend at SAGA's Minicon playing board games or wanting to play board games but not having the spoons to herd people. Today was better than yesterday, but yesterday had my best game (and the first game of the weekend), a 65 point Seven Wonders (tied for first). I also nearly had the perfect mining game in Race for the Galaxy but was one round short of getting the final development down. Wasn't enough to win, someone else managed 14 cards in their tableau :-/ Was introduced to Death Angel today (card-based version of Space Hulk), quite fun as long as people don't trip over each other trying to be in the center of the action all the time.

Also recall playing Citadels, Dominion, Stone Age, Castles of Burgundy. More than one game of Seven Wonders.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
That's what they said about Cracroft House, which met the bulldozers this week.

I'm afraid the same can very much be said of Antonio Hall. As I've said since the first visit, it would take love (as well as money) to save. And it's clear that the owners don't care and aren't inclined to co-operate with anyone who does :(

The Historic Places Trust are apparently looking for buildings to save in the residential red zone, and there are no doubt buildings worth saving. My own criteria would include "could the building have a future as something other than a time capsule" - that's why I like the Hall, but I don't know how many of the ones in the red zone will meet that.

The cabin in the above article for instance will probably stand another move. Other buildings though I could see becoming little deserted islands.
marsden_online: (skull)
I awoke this morning with a sense of calm, that things were right with the world and that it was all right to lie in the cosy bed for a while. This usually means one of two things:
1. there is a disaster waiting in or about to hit my inbox
2. I've cracked
3. both of the above

Given that the world has slowly been turning to plastic over th past few weeks and I'm at the state where I don't have the spare brain cycles to contemplate anything more than a few hours ahead probably at least the second (I've checked my inbox and it's clear - so far). For instance this weekend is Winter Weekend but my brain cannot comprehend this - the concept flits away like a frisky butterfish. I'm going out tomorrow afternoon - or evening, depending on the painter - despite clearly needing some sort of break I'm expecting two surreal days which will immediately disappear in the fog of "happened".

On the subject of painting - after two weeks without the final coat being applied it turns out that the painter is away sick and the project manager has -finally- (after I actually started chasing him up) assigned another painter. Who is supposed to be here late this afternoon to apply the first coat and tomorrow morning for the second.

On the one hand this is over-and-above the EQC work so I don't want to push things - on the other hand that means *I'm* the one paying for it and I expect better. Especially since I need the paint fumes to have cleared by the end of the week when another EQC refugee is moving into that room for a few weeks / months.


Jul. 9th, 2012 08:30 pm
marsden_online: (Default)
There has been quite a bit of activity today. My garage has walls again, if not a front. Still some patch-up work to do with the painting - some of the first coat didn't take to some of the plaster in the dining room and kitchen. Otherwise everything but the office has had its two coats.

I've cleaned the inside glass of the windows in the kitchen/dining and I'll do the frames before the furniture goes back in.

Probably won't be moved back into the office fully by Friday - but should have it available for storage.
marsden_online: (Default)
Plasterers turned up, discovered the office too full of condensation, stuck in a dehumidifier (backed up by mine and the HRV will be on overnight as well) and left.

Job boss turned up, had a look around, questioned him about the work to be done in the kitchen and it turns out he always exaggerates the amount of mess there is likely to to prepare people for the worst (apparently many people don't expect there to be mess .... ) so it was my misinterpretation that there was going to be mess concomitant with the existing paint being removed.

Job sub-boss turned up, had a look around, mentioned that he thought they will be done inside about Tuesday next week.

New Detroit wasn't on tonight (players away) instead learnt Castles of Burgundy which is an interestingly thoughtful board game of tile buying-and-placing with much much replayability.

Also played a fairly calm game of The Good The Bad and The Munchkin.
marsden_online: (Default)
It was a very noisy day.

The plasterer was also here for a few hours this morning.
marsden_online: (Default)
As of 8am yesterday morning my property is a building site.
Sunday night what seemed like a small horde of friends descended and compacted much of my furniture into the lounge, took fittings off the walls etc etc.

Monday morning a man turned up and started removing the wallpaper from the office
<-- the old wallpaper for posterity

Later Monday some other men took to the garage

I also notices that a bunch of cracks have opened up in the (new) paintwork around the fireplace, presumably courtesy of a recent aftershock :( Afraid the same will eventually happened to painting done as part of these repairs.

Today a plasterer turned up, grumbled at the state the office walls had been left in and said "never mind we'll fix it up" before slapping on a preliminary coat of paint and leaving.

I get the feeling all the sub-subcontracters working on various stages of the repairs never get the chance to actually talk to each other and work out a cohesive set of expectations. This cannot be a good thing.

Plasterer also told me that they won't bother sanding down the kitchen / dining room - just plaster over the existing paint / paper and paint. On the one hand that will mean far less dust, on the other hand I'm getting kind of twitchy about how what is actually being done doesn't match up to what I was -told- would be done at various stages of the assessment / pre-repair process. My "lowest bid, lowest quality" spidey sense is going off like crazy.

<-- currently

I had been told that someone would still be working on the garage today - haven't seen anyone. However I also know that they have double-digits other properties on the go and from what I heard about one being behind-schedule yesterday I think they're probably all having time-management issues...
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
And the people they have assigned to repair earthquake damage here.

Seems to have been a shorter version of the "full assessment" which was done a while ago. Now that they've seen what needs to be done for themselves they will be sorting out quotes.

Expect to hear back in "about 8 weeks, could be longer".

And I need to go track down a source of dry-erase paint for the potential painting-of-the-office with [plots].
marsden_online: (shadowrun)
For the first one I was passing too close for comfort to the earthquake-damaged house. For the second I was standing a safe distance away and got to watch how the old brickwork ... flexes ... ripples ...

The front corner is still there but I have much better understanding of how it -could- come down. I also don't think we're actually going to be able to save it unless someone can come to the party with 6 or 7 digits of ready cash :(

For the big one we were down the other end of the building, and that stayed solid as.

(What we were doing today was blocking up some of the most commonly used entry/exit windows, but we abandoned work at this point. We'll go back to it after Xmas.)

That's the first set I've really been standing out in the open for.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
I'm pretty much just going to work though the sections until I get tired of reading, jotting down my thoughts.

The Big Picture
Nothing much extra comes to mind over the introduction/big picture that I don't expect to be commenting on later, until we get to Implementation where it starts talking about who/how the projects in the plan will be paid for. The most concrete part of this section is in identifying the "catalyst projects" the council plans to be take the lad in paying for - ie "public investment". While it is expected that "private investment" will be 10x that the details about where this is actually going to come from ... feel hollow. Blather about "incentives" and "leadership".

This document probably isn't the place to list the private projects which are no doubt already being planned, but I would feel better if that information was available somewhere.

Guiding Principles
Five principles were defined to draft the plan
- Foster business investment
- Respect for the Past
- A long term view of the future
- Easy to get around
- Vibrant central city living

I don't know if the order they are presented in the draft is reflective of their relevant importance (doubtless the official position is that they are all equally important) but to my mind "A long term view of the future" expresses something that people really need to get their heads around. The timeline in the plan itself covers about 20 years - the foreseeable future really. I do expect that within my lifetime we will get to the point where construction and development stops containing an element of "rebuild".
But what is being put in place here will shape Christchurch for another 100 years or more (barring sinking into the ocean), just as Christchurch to date has been shaped by street plans laid out in 1850, or by the brick buildings erected around the turn of the 20th century (there is a nice potted history on pages 17-20).

The way ahead
This section lays out the process of finalising the plan and work which is ongoing - eg further analysis. It also contains this section which describes the largest short-term hurdle to getting started...
Insurance companies and their reinsurers are facing what they describe as “unprecedented events” and Canterbury’s earthquake risk level remains a real concern to the insurance industry. The primary issue revolves around the level of ongoing seismic activity to the extent there is no appetite for insurers to take on new risk (i.e. risk they do not currently have). This has a significant impact on rebuilding with little (if any) ability to secure insurance for these projects. The banking industry is wanting certainty that standard insurance cover, including earthquake cover, is in place at the outset of a project. This issue is well known at all levels including central government and is a significant risk factor that could impact on delivery of the Plan.

Money is available from non-bank sources for the public works, although I wonder if projects are legally required to have insurance before they can start. That might require careful use of those law-rewriting powers the minister has.
But unless there is a developer out there with deep pockets and a willingness to take the risk, that vital private investment could be slow in coming. Or a bank willing to cut some slack - it can be assumed that the international re-insurers won't cut any, but our internationally owned banks are mostly based in Australia and might be a little friendlier.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Brownlees (soundbite) response to the draft plan is reportedly
Brownlee said residents would need to decide what projects they wanted to keep from "a pretty big wish list".

"It's now up to the people of Christchurch to debate the plan, prioritise its projects and decide how much they are prepared to pay to fund them," he said.

"How much we're prepared to pay?" is an interesting question, given that despite the repeated suggestions of eg: infrastructure bonds on either a local or national level - there seems to be no movement to allow the public to voluntarily contribute (invest) funds. In Chch itself we're going to make a compulsory contribution through our rates (like we get to decide how much that is [/sarc]) but otherwise it looks like you have to be some sort of big private investor (developer) or other central city property owner to be allowed to contribute anything at all.

If we're being asked to buy in to the grand vision outlined in the draft plan, then let us actually buy into it. I want a funding option which will enable Joe/Jane Person to contribute as much as they feel they can to the effort. I have a feeling there's quite a bit of loose money floating around in Christchurch let alone the rest of the country which could be soaked up into something like this.

[Official feedback channels don't open for another 4 days]

As an aside, given the vocal opposition to light rail (personally I'm for it, after a fashion) I wonder if it is in there as some form of easy sacrifice.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
The Christchurch City Council today released the draft plan for the post-earthquake recovery of the Central City, an outcome (partially) of the Share an Idea program.

The Press put it online at but it's pretty unreadable in that format - if you don't want to register an account there to get the pdf I've re-uploaded it here:

Edit: or get it from the council website:

I've skimmed it pretty thoroughly but I'm not going to make any detailed commentary until some of it has sunk in and I've made another pass or three. First impression is that it contains pretty much everything that I could have asked for and more besides - I saw nothing to disagree with. And that's why I'm going to describe it as a vision rather than a plan - it aims high and the hurdles to be overcome in achieving it are walls made of flesh. There are a lot of other stakeholders who need to buy in and stump up before even a fraction can be achieved.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
This afternoon I attended a CERA community workshop on the Greater Christchurch Recovery Strategy. This was along the same lines as the CCC's Share an Idea workshops but looking at the "Greater" Christchurch area.

At least that was the theory. From what we heard from a couple of other tables as the facilitator asked around for a sampling of the topics that had come up some people missed the "Greater" bit and focused on the "CBD".

The Recovery Plan is divided into 5 areas<
- Community wellbeing
- Culture and heritage
- Built environment
- Economy (I sat with this group, which seemed to have attracted less interest that the others)
- Natural environment

The workshop suffered for the process not being clearly explained - so we were asked to do stuff with no clear context, no understanding that there was a next step, an the commiserate confusion of some of the participants, time wastage on the first pass and lack of time on the later. (For the record the workshop was facilitated by staff from ESR.)

First we were asked to individually write on sticky notes what signs would tell us in 5 years time that the Recovery Plan was working. The next step was grouping these notes into themes or clusters. The answers focused on economic indicators and clear reporting from CERA. We picked the top 3 to continue with - Unemployment at or better than pre-September levels, the number of tourist beds back up to pre-quake levels and the tourists coming back, and reporting from CERA showing how the region's Economic recovery was matching or exceeding the targets in the Recovery Plan.

For each of these we then looked at
- what needs to be done to achieve this (me for unemployment was about identifying opportunities and needed skills ASAP, -publicising them- and getting training organised)
- what challenges and hurdles stand in the way (politics was a common theme here)

Unfortunately as mentioned above the time we had available was not made clear which meant spending far to much time on the first and then rushing through the last two as we discovered actually we only had 15 minutes left to do -all the rest- not 15 minutes left to finish the first one.

We then went through this process again for the question "What can we use this opportunity to do much better than before". This time we only had to pick one of our clusters, explain what it was about, and why it was so important. Unfortunately by this time people were becoming unfocused and kept making suggestions for specific outcomes, which wasn't what either of the questions was asking for.

We picked Transport as being important for getting resources (including labour) to and from new business locations in a timely fashion and supporting a decentralised industry (future disasterproofing).

(My initial ideas were around getting a range of industry/residential distributed around the hinterland settlements connected to Chch as a central hub by light rail. This would let people live further out of the city but commute easily, or live/play in the city but commute out to work. Or a bit more out there - "Make Christchurch the Silicon Valley of the South Pacific")

Finally we each got to write down one piece of advice we'd like to give CERA. Mine was "Be completely transparent and listen to / act on the feedback this garners you". There was also a feedback form on which I left the same criticisms I mentioned above.

There was one woman at the table who couldn't stop talking, didn't quite seem to get the point of the exercise and generally rubbed me up the wrong way. Most of the others I was on the same wavelength with to some degree. I take that as an indication that there was a good range of viewpoints and personalities present :-/

Although looking around the room I did feel that my age group and younger were ... under-represented. Still there are a number of workshops being held across the city, hopefully the average will work out.
marsden_online: (dragon)
Just had a call from the chap I had lined up to fix my roof. He can replace the tiles but EQC won't let him touch the chimney. Which means while the roof will be weather-tight (distinct improvement) I still won't be able to use my fireplace (defeats half the purpose).

So tomorrow I
a) call EQC to find out what I need to do to get my chimney fixed as well as my roof.
b) visit some more fireplace retailers to find out if any have an installer not completely overwhelmed by EQC work. If the chimney is no longer there they no longer have any say in the matter.

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags


RSS Atom

Style Credit

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios