Not being able to live in your house is a major inconvenience. I ran into my landlord in town today, who was inspecting one of his other buildings in town. I didn’t really get to talk to him for long, but they think that it may take up to 3 months just to replace the windows on the building he was looking at. I am not sure how long it will take before I am able to go back to my place – the building is fine, but it currently has no power. My current guesses on how long it will be before I get how would be somewhere between 1 and 2 weeks. Who really knows. Inner city residents aren’t really at the top of the list of council priorities right now.
However inconvenient it might be for me, and no doubt, for the businesses who are unable to work in the city right now, I don’t think we need to be rushing through legislation and council papers without proper discussion. There is going to be an extraordinary meeting of the City Council tomorrow, at which they are going to discuss the item “Review of the Earthquake Prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy”. I’m not on council, so I don’t really know what that means. But I am a citizen of Christchurch, and I do think that I have a right to know about decisions which may affect Christchurch for generations to come. A number of people are very concerned about the rush to demolish some of our proudest buildings – knocking something down should be the last option, not the first. While it is inevitable that many, many buildings will have to be taken down, we should be as sure as possible before we bring the bulldozers in.
Even though our old buildings are owned by the people who paid for the deed, the feelings expressed in the last few days show that there are many people who have emotional investments, if not financial ones, in these buildings. If an owner can only afford to knock the building down, to start again with something on the same site, then there may be other options. The community may feel strongly enough to rally around, raise some funds, to try and preserve the building. These sort of community-led movements take time – but if the council and their authorities want to rush through legislation to rush down buildings, we’re never going to be able to preserve our heritage.