History repeats - "Don't worry about it, it's only a little bit, it's for the best, it will only affect the bad guys, if you have done nothing wrong you'll be OK". These have been the words of every suppressor of free communications for centuries.
Emma, we had a similar experience in February. A friend's son's wedding on a beach in Northland, several swims in the sea, lovely lunches with friends, back to Christchurch - and bump, 22nd February on the 7th floor of the UC library! The biggest mood wrecker ever.
You'll bounce back, but there are definitely weeks where the spirit is a bit watery. That's the human brain adjusting, I reckon, like in dreams but awake - absorbing new inputs, rewriting memories and values to make the internal model fit the external model.
Still, it is really shitty, isn't it?
David, I've been watching this thread and feeling increasingly enraged and hopeless; this loophole trickery is just awful. I don't know how these people look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that they are ruining the lives of people caught in a disaster, just to earn their annual bonus. I hope they suffer sleepless nights wrestling with their consciences, though I have my doubts.
On our River Road side of the river, we have houses that are nearly intact, but which will be removed because they are in the red zone. They will no doubt be in your situation as well, if the insurers keep to this legal trick. And even for people like us, who've got emails saying "your house is unable to be repaired", we could now find that insurers are suddenly discovering that houses are repairable after all - then they won't have to pay any red zone valuations in full. This is turning into a national disgrace, so much for Brownlee and Key's "preserving owners' equity" mantra.
One possible avenue of assistance, besides the insurance ombudsman which has already been mentioned, is your neighbourhood group which is part of CanCERN. We had a Richmond-Shirley CanCERN meeting at Shirley Intermediate yesterday and were told they have pro-bono assistance from a law firm (Mortlock McCormack) to help with these issues. See http://cancern.org.nz/ for neighbourhood reps and contact addresses, and to join their email networks.
I can't speak highly enough of the work being done by this group, who also have several members on the community forum announced a few days ago. Best wishes, keep your flag waving.
It's hard to go past Baxter;
Alone we are born
And die alone
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
over snow-mountain shine.
That'll do me.
It's not hard to walk upright here, but it's hard to walk in the right direction.
We in Christchurch reserve the right to say the same when a new volcano pops up in East Tamaki; why on earth live among all those volcanoes? It's easy to be right when you don't know much.
I go for a combination; I have a couple of pairs of padded-bum cycle shorts that are light fabric, designed to be worn as underwear. I can wear regular work clothes on top, and after I get to work I take 5 mins in the bathroom changing into a fresh shirt and regular undies. Another 5 mins at the end of the day to get back into bike undies, trousers on, away we go. Exposing my 60-something body in lycra would not help workplace relations!
Re Christchurch's cycling tradition, I remember my first trip to Christchurch as a kid in the 50s - my father took me into the Square at 5pm just to watch the huge tidal wave of cyclists that poured through the central city and on to the suburbs. It left a lasting impression on my 7 year old mind.
I cycle 12km each way, about 3 or 4 days a week, year round. It takes 35-40 minutes, and I pass lots of cars sitting in queues. I don't shower at work, but I do have a quick wash and change shirts after I arrive. I'd like to take a more scenic route, but I can't use the riverside paths and Hagley Park since we've been displaced by quakes, so it's Innes Rd and car exhaust for the foreseeable future.
I suspect that the reason I'm a bit more optimistic is that we shifted out on Sep 20 last year, so we're not living in the destruction day after day. We go back to the house once or twice a week to collect mail (EQC and State Insurance must maintain multiple address lists, mail goes to both addresses now) and see how many more bricks have fallen off, but then we retreat back to nice stable Bottle Lake. It's definitely better for morale to be renting an undamaged house in a quake proof area.
Our house is still (only just) standing across the river from David and Jen's, past the twisty bridge that nobody finds cute any more. We had to leave after the September quake caused parts of the house to collapse, and I really admire the people who've got the fortitude to stay. Luckily our mortgage was recently paid off, so paying rent isn't too onerous, but people with large mortgages really have no choice but to stay put.
We hear rumours (lots of them) that the geotech reports are done, and everyone is waiting for CERA/CCC/EQC, insurers, and the Government, to make announcements about whether we can rebuild on our riverbank sections. land remediation works, we know that from small sites along the river and the new Pegasus Town, built on a swamp north of Chch. They just need the courage to swallow the large bill and get on with it, so we can put down David's clever foundations and start building.
Then the Avon suburbs can again be a showcase for the city, and we'll all feel better.
I live over the river from David, about a block away, and I agree with all his points. Neighbours with new additions with deep pile foundations had some damage, but it is a lot less than standard piles. The new Pegasus Town development, on a swamp 30km north of Chch, had to compact all the soil before building; all those houses are all OK, so land remediation is definitely a feasible option.
On a more positive note, I've heard engineers and Council staff say that the residential zone along the river is one of Christchurch's "shop windows" and its PR/image value is such that it is a high priority to save.
And I'm darned if I want to live in Rolleston/Pegasus/Wigram - we moved to Christchurch 15 years ago and made a conscious decision to live near the city centre. That feeling is just as strong now; we want to live there with our neighbours and get the area back to a healthy state.