A City Still Recovering
Because we were waiting for the motorhome to undergo minor repairs, we spent more time in the Christchurch area and I had a look around the city centre.
One of the Uber-drivers, Nelson, has been living here more than 24 years. He said after the earthquake they had the damage to their brick and tile home examined by EQC. The estimated damage was $20,000. When they recently tried to sell their house they were told to get an engineer’s report. The value of the damage turned out to be closer to $240,000. Now they need to go back to EQC - "a process that might take years rather than months". He knows of others in the same position.
Nelson said just after the earthquake EQC spent two weeks training people, who had nothing to do with the building industry, to evaluate damage to earthquake-stricken houses. They were not qualified engineers and "were in over their heads".
After the earthquake, the holiday park that we were staying at, were filled up with people who had lost their homes. Christchurch City Council then wanted to sell the park to Asian investors. There was a big uproar from the community - the people in the park had nowhere else to go. There are still people (I would estimate about 20% of occupants) who live here permanently – an ongoing consequence of what happened 10 years ago.
On my travels I walked through Hagley Park, visited the Wall of Remembrance, the Bridge of Remembrance (a totally different kind, though - war remembrance), the Christchurch museum and the art gallery. I booked a city tour on the tram and visited the Earth Quake Centre and the new modern library.
New Regent Street is a treasure trove of crafty little shops. It was when I stood in front of the old Christchurch Cathedral that I had the clearest idea of where exactly I was, a sense of direction. I remembered what the city was like more than a decade ago.
It is easy to think there should have been more done, the city should have been totally restored by now. The fact of the matter is to restore some of these buildings amounts to more than a $100 000 000 per building, yes, more than one hundred million.... for one building.
Once I realised some of the devastation caused by the earthquake, I also realised that this city will never be exactly the same. There has been a lot of progress. But yes, people are still picking up the pieces. I suspect they might do for another decade or more.
What is amazing, a total miracle, is that they are picking up the pieces at all. I think it is only by God's grace that we can assess what is left after devastation and find the courage to move forward.
Moving tributes at the Wall of Remembrance
A tribute to those who suffered in the mosque shootings inside the Christchurch Museum.
The Original City Council Buildings - it might take another three years to complete repairs.
What a lovely way to get a guided tour around the city centre!
The two photos above shows The Canterbury Club that was a gentlemen's club established around 1875.
An original gas streetlamp from the 1800's
A Photo of the cathedral taken from the third floor in the library
On the left is the Tramway Restaurant and in n the middle is the library. It has a play area for children, a little cafe, computers, tables and chairs to read at. It is a space that invites conversation and study.
The very familiar pastel coloured buildings of New Regent Street
This wooden house survived the earthquake and according to the tram operator wooden houses are much better off than brick and tile ones.
Entrance to the Christchurch Arts Centre
I just loved these model boats in the Department of Conservation visitor centre at the Christchurch i-site in the historic Arts Centre. The one at the top is a replica of The Bounty.
Inside the Earthquake Centre
Relics from the Christchurch Museum