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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog - An example of 'Christchurch time' (Will Harvey)

An example of 'Christchurch time'

Last updated 12:39 15/03/2011
 
 
The triple disaster unfolding in Japan knocked the Christchurch earthquake off the front page of The Press on Monday morning.

We sympathise with the Japanese, but can also quietly celebrate the receding coverage of events in Christchurch. It means the worst news is past and we can start the rebuild.

There are considerable tears still be shed in Christchurch. Before business owners got into their CBD premises for three hours yesterday (Monday), they were told something like, "Umm, if you find a body, please let us know." And what is trapped under the collapsed Smith City car park at Colombo and Dundas streets? That's for recovery teams and the police to sort out.

The rest of us with damaged houses are awaiting official visits from EQC. My neighbourhood - Mt Pleasant - was supposed to get EQC visits on the weekend or Monday, but I'm living across town at the university and don't know if it's happened.

These visits aren't even the real deal. They are "rapid" assessments (i.e. about 30 minutes maximum) during which damaged homes will be categorised into four groups. The worst-hit homeowners - those with "severe structural damage" - could get a proper assessment within FOUR MONTHS.

So, it will be mid-July before some of the worst-hit homes even get a full assessment, after which the engineers, architects, builders and suchlike will get together to plan repairs and eventually get around to making them.

This is good example of what my wife this morning called "Christchurch time", which is different from time everywhere else in New Zealand. Things have slowed down. Almost everything starts later and takes longer. Partly this is traffic, partly the scale of the task ahead.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I've got a funeral to attend.

- The Press

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