Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Quake!

0437hrs Saturday morning was quite a moment in our heritage history. When our terror had finally subsided and the dust had settled, we could see that some of us had been lucky and had suffered little damage, while others had significant structural repairs to be done. However, it was great to see so many of you checking on your neighbours and helping each other out.
Jacqui and I walked around Victoria and Peterborough Streets on Sunday. There is such a lot of damage out there. Not just the odd chimney pot, but shifted foundations, bowed and cracked brick walls, and caved in roofs. And that was just the low rise stuff. The old Normal School has copped some serious damage as has the Repertory Theatre. Almost every church has something fallen away, with some seemingly beyond repair. Looking at these buildings I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach as if a close relative has fallen ill and been admitted to hospital.
Although some properties have already been demolished, I hope that heritage values are being properly considered. There is a real risk that overhasty decisions will cause the unnecessary loss of important parts of old Christchurch. I was pleased to hear the architect Peter Beaven on TV pleading the case for preserving damaged buildings and not simply writing them off.
Coming back to local issues, don't forget to photograph your wall cracks and toppled chimneys, if you haven't already done so, to document things for insurance claims.
Above all, don't forget that we all have such a lot to be grateful for. Astonishingly no-one was killed! Our cup is truly half full - not half empty. As Bob Parker says "Everybody has lost something, but nobody has lost someone." The aftershocks day and night may be frazzling our nerves, but we are all still here. I feel that St James Ave has done quite well, and perhaps all those tree roots in the avenue and in the park have somehow softened the quake's impact. Keep talking to each other and stay safe!

Mike

PS: If you are interested in seeing the live seismology recordings, go to the Geonet site.

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