Archive for January, 2011

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission – What Is It?

6 January 2011

Well, it’s a very different beast from the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

CERC was set up by the government in the early days after 4 September and its functions include coordinating the Government and local body recovery effort. It is also supposed to be the chief means of communication between the three councils and the Government.

It consists of three Government appointees, an ECan Commissioner and the Mayors of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

They are retiring Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry director-general Murray Sherwin, Canterbury regional council commissioner Dame Margaret Bazely, earthquake engineer David Hopkins, social expert Arihia Bennett, Mayor Kelvin Coe, Mayor Bob Parker and yours truely.

The Earthquake: How Much Will it Cost the Council (i.e. Ratepayers)?

5 January 2011

The immediate answer is: we don’t know.

It could be anywhere between $10m and $30m, depending on government and council decisions and a whole range of unknown factors. Costs of this size are normally funded by loans because this means that future beneficiaries also get to pay for it.

But to give you an idea of what we could be in for …

The underground infrastructure, notably sewers and water mains, will be covered mainly by insurance.  Additional costs to the ratepayers could come if we, i.e. the Council, decided to relocate sewer mains in the Feldwick Drive / Gray Crescent area, currently located behind the houses, into the streets, which is normal modern practice. (Quite a few sewer mains in Kaiapoi and Rangiora are located behind houses.)

Roads are mainly covered by an 83% NZ Transport Agency subsidy.  We have to find the other 17% but we are trying to persuade the Government to lift the subsidy to 90%.  There should be an opportunity to redesign streets, where residents want it, for little extra cost: it doesn’t, for instance, matter where new kerbing is put from a cost point of view.

Fixing up the parks is totally our cost.  They can’t be insured – although play equipment is.

Community buildings are insured, but in some cases they weren’t adequate before the earthquake, so why would we build back the way they were?  The Kaiapoi Museum, for instance, was owned by the Council.  It was actually a former court house and had become too small.  It seems reasonable that when we build a new museum, that is designed for the purpose and meets the museum’s needs. Insurance won’t cover the improvement, however.  The library was cramped and the associated offices and meeting room (the former Kaiapoi Borough chamber) were also inadequate. A decision on this will not be easy.

The council is also putting staff time into social recovery, although some of this is government funded too.  We take the view that the hardest part is going to be helping the people of our District through what is going to be a very dfficult process.  It is also important that we, the wider community, help community organisations and businesses in the Kaiapoi area through this time. This is why we have already given some financial assistance to the business community through Enterprise North Canterbury and the Kaiapoi Promotion Association.

Another cost has been the loss of income through the remission of rates for those who are not able to live in their houses.  This lasts until 30 June because that is the end of the financial year.  The Council has yet to discuss what will happen after 1 July: whatever recommendation is made will be part of the Draft Annual Plan which will be out for public consultation in February-March.

Rebuilding & Repairing Houses After the Earthquake – Who Does What?

5 January 2011
Damaged House in Kairaki – photo from Governor-General’s Website

Who is responsible for repairing or rebuilding insured houses?

If EQC assess damage at less than $10,000, they will pay out to the owner.  It is up to the owner then to get the repairs done – or whether they they do them at all.
Damage assessed at between $10,000 and $100,000 will be managed by Fletchers – EQC’s project managers. They will assign the work to builders, etc.  If an owener wants to use their own tradespeople, they can – provided that those tradespeople are first certified by Fletchers.
 Fletchers have already established a “hub”, for them to work from,  in Darnley Square, Kaiapoi.
At over $100,000+GST, EQC pays out that amount which then either comes off the owner’s mortagage or becomes available to repair or rebuild the house. 
The work to be done thus becomes a matter between the owner and their insurance company.
The insurance groups also have their project managers, eg. IAG (which includes NZI and State) has engaged Hawkins Construction.

Land Remediation after the Earthquake: What is “Perimeter Treatment”?

4 January 2011

One good place for information is the Tonkin and Taylor Stage 2 Report done for EQC:,0

Perimeter Treatment is the work that will be done in areas adjacent to rivers, such as the Avon in Christchurch and the Kaiapoi and Courtenay in Waimakariri.  The diagram on the left gives the general idea.

During the 7.1 Earthquake on 4 September, some of the worst damage occurred when soils liquefied and then moved sideways toward the rivers.  Big cracks opened up and houses started to fall apart.  Many were held together only by their roofs.  This process is known as lateral spreading and occurred near rivers because there was nothing to stop the liquified soil moving sideways. (The diagram comes from the Tonkin and Taylor Stage 2 Report.)

The perimeter treatment is designed to reduce this lateral spread in the event of a future earthquake.  Remember that the Kaiapoi area experienced liquefaction in the 1901 Cheviot earthquake.  A future quake could occur somewhere else in Canterbury other than Darfield.

The perimeter treatment has been described as “barriers” or  “walls”.  There are actually different ways that they will be constructed.  A common method will be to insert a vibrating probe into the ground to a point below the liquefaction layer.  This vibration consolidates the soils and makes them less prone to liquefaction. Gravel is then poured into the hole and also consolidated.  It takes about 30 minutes for this work and the then another one is done in close proximity.  They are totally underground.  Once done, the ground surface can be built on, have a road put over it or grassed back into parkland.

There will be something like 22 thousand of these columns inserted in the Kaiapoi area.  That’s a lot of half-hours!

The Passing of Time …

4 January 2011

Good on WAI

3 January 2011

Good on WAI (Waikuku Artists Inc) for organising the sand castle competition yesterday.  I didn’t know it was on – but it’s already in my diary for next year!

Watch out for their exhibition on 12-13 February – to be held this year at The Mill in Waikuku Village on the Main North Road – because the Waikuku Beach Hall will still be closed for earthquake repairs.

Rebuilding Kaiapoi, The Pines and Kairaki

2 January 2011

The rebuilding of the earthquake-affected parts of these three areas involves not only people’s houses, but public spaces as well.

For information on the consultation process today and to see what is coming out of that consultation so far, you can go to:

As you can see from the map above, five areas have  been dilineated.

Facebook Page Up-and-Running Again

1 January 2011

I’ve changed the name of my Facebook page to:

David Ayers in Waimakariri – the Mayor’s Page .

This can be found at!/pages/David-Ayers-in-Waimakariri-the-Mayors-Page/117278721642302 – or click on the link in the blogroll at the right of your screen.

Nearly Three Months On …

1 January 2011

I said I would keep this blog going.  This might have been a foolish promise, but my New Year’s resolution is … you’ve guessed it.

Obviously life has been busy, but since Christmas we have been able to get a bit of a breather.  Earthquake recovery has, of course dominated, and I’ll report on that in another post.  But also what has happened in the last three months has brought home the richness of community life in the Waimakariri District.

Richard and Dawn Spark and Phil and Jo Seal (Gulliver & Tyler Funeral Directors) have built a chapel at Rossburn Receptions that was opened in October by Hon Kate Wilkinson MP.

As well as funerals, the chapel will be used for weddings etc – in conjunction with the reception business the Sparks run.

On the same day, a concert was held to say to the people of Kaiapoi – hey! we’ve been hit by an earthquake but we can still have a good time.

One of the main organisers was Ben Brennan, newly-elected to the Kaiapoi Community Board.

Yes, a chain comes with the job!

The Rangiora A&P Show is always a highlight of the year and numbers weren’t too badly suppressed by the Earthquake Concert in Christchurch at the same time – although teenagers were noticeably absent in Rangiora.

The Kaiapoi Light Party, an annual event put on by local churches, drew a large crowd – especially of kids who were able to try everything out for free.

The Chamber Gallery in Rangiora staged an exhibition by Veronique Moginot who, although she is of French background, put on a show that had a strong Eastern Orthodox flavour.

This proved an ideal setting for Musica Balkanica who performed their Balkan repertoir in the Chamber Gallery in November.

Kaiapoi was the starting point for a group of peeny-farthings which headed for Oamaru via Oxford.  I presume they made it!

Both Kaiapoi and Rangiora High Schools had Road Crash days put on by the Police and Waimakariri Road Safety, with the help of many others, including the Kaiapoi and Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigades, St Johns Ambulance and Gulliver and Tyler.

The Kaiapoi Christmas Parade seemed to be bigger than ever and drew large crowds – as did the preceding market in Williams Street. A sunny day with everyone in good spirits!

Congratulations to the Kaiapoi Promotion Association.

I’ve been to North Loburn School twice, for an Enviroschools day and for the inauguration  of active warning signs.  They get a lot of trucks going past the school from the Mount Grey forest and from the Whiterock quarry – and while the trucking companies and drivers are working well with the school, safety is always a concern. Pictured is the principal, Simon Green.

Cust is seeing if a market can work for their community – those in places like Oxford, Ohoka, Woodend and Kaiapoi are going well.

Like Kaiapoi, the Rangiora Christmas Parade had a great day.  Here is the crowd in Victoria Park afterwards.

Our Town Rangiora did well.

Oxford, on the other hand, struck a wet day for their Christmas Parade.  Here the the Union Parish take shelter waiting for it to start – fortunately the rain did stop for the parade itself and all went well.

The Oxford Lions again put on a good community day for Oxford.

It was good to have a temporary library open in Kaiapoi – and the Aquatic Centre too.

The launch of the book Our Soldiers at the Rangiora RSA helped further the growing ties between the Waimakariri District and Passchendaele in Belgium.

I’m with the the author Paul O’Connor, Belgian Consul Lieve Bierque and Bill Whitehead, President of the Rangiora RSA. (Photo from the Northern Outlook).

Josh Smith of Kaiapoi received a Young Totara leadership award from the Rotary Club of Rangiora for the leadership and responsibility he showed working in the welfare centre in Kaiapoi after the earthquake.

It Makes Me Mad!

1 January 2011

 Vandalism makes me mad, especially when it involves trees.  As you can see from the attached photos, central Rangiora was hit recently.  Several years’ growth goes in an instant of mindless (and probably drunken) idiocy.

It happened on a Friday night and although it is outside our house, we heard nothing.

We all lose from this sort of thing.

Corners of Waimakariri: St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Fernside

1 January 2011

Since 1874, St Matthew’s has been a centre for the Fernside community.  It is one of several in the District designed by the notable colonial Church architect, Benjamin Mountfort.  Bishop Harper laid the foundation stone and within 6 months the church had been built and was debt-free, because he was able to return and consecrate it.

The church can be found on the corner of Mount Thomas and Mairaki Roads.

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