Working from Home


There is a lot of debate going on, whether or not Christchurch City Business Area should be relocated, or just left where it is. Of course, if you don’t know what all this is about, or even why.’Well it’s where most of the City’s property damage took place’. This is what’s now known, and designated as the ‘Red Zone’, it’s also situated in the shadow of the ‘Grand Chancellor Hotel’,it’s some seventeen stories high, and it’s badly endangered. What’s more, it now has has a very noticeable tilt. This area is strictly ‘Off Limits’ to the public, and will stay that way until it’s pulled down, and the danger removed. Every aftershock moves it, just a little more, but it stubbornly stays put. So now unfortunately they will have to pay to pull the damn thing down. For this task, it will cost really big money. The sum of ten million has been mentioned. I’ll bet too, that they now wish that one of the last series of earthquakes had knocked it over. Because after the last big shock, they poured tons upon tons of cement into the ground floor to stabilise it temporarily. Unfortunately, now they are having to pay as I said Millions, and they also have a time frame of six months to knock it down, and cart away the debris. Of course, not forgetting all the tons of cement, they had earlier put into the ground floor.


Lyttleton Harbour Board decided this was too good an opportunity to miss, so to take advantage of all this free spoil from the City demolition, and carry out some necessary reclamation. They offered to take all of the clean fill. Of course they ran slap bang into yet another official, declaring for this operation, they now required planning permission, which under the old rules would take months or even years to obtain. He was very quickly sorted out and pushed aside. I now see again, dozens of heavy trucks headed out that way again. Possibly they could put him on point duty.


I don’t know if the authorities have noticed or not, or just turning a blind eye to it all, but the local businessmen are busy working out things for themselves. They are all busy relocating and many have decided to work at home. The suburbs are now festooned with hundreds of advertising signs. These are all professionally done, so the sign writers must be enjoying a boom. They are located outside every other residential home. These all belong to former CBD Accountants, Hairdressers, Dentists, locksmiths, and even Jewellers. These are the same guys. who made up the working fabric of our city. In fact you name it, and you will find any and all of these people, all now working from home. In fact they haven’t much choice with their new venues, to carry out their occupations, which is now in a lounge, bathroom, shed, or even a garage.


If you had tried to do this six months ago without a permit, or even without a change of use, and planning permission, it would have been safer to kick over a beehive. Councils over the years have slowly wrapped themselves in more than enough regulations, that up until today, you required an lawyer to hold your hand, and the ‘patience of Job’, to work through. Today people are in no mood to be mucked about any more with petite officialdom. These folk could even find themselves, ‘hog tied’, and hung out to dry, all wrapped up in their own Red Tape should try to stop it.


One strange effect the earthquake has had with me is now when I’m travelling across town, I often take a wrong turning, because landmarks I have used in the past, but probably not realising it, have suddenly been pulled down or just disappeared. This can happen overnight. So its easy to miss a critical turn. Some streets where there were large sections of office blocks or housing have also been damaged and pulled down. This makes some streets you don’t use often seem unfamiliar, and places you are seeking, suddenly become hard to recognise.


We have another problem if you need to travel across town on a regular basis, it matters not if you go around the outskirts, or take your chances and take your normal route, but just be prepared to run into many diversions by repair work being carried out.


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