Saturday, 7 May 2011

Cordon reduction reveals more……

Today the Zone 6 cordon moved back one street and Zone 4 was opened so I decided to take a look. It was smelly, shocking and somewhat demoralizing.
View from over the wire, the digger is sitting atop of what's left of Cafe Valentino
View through the wire, a devaststed cityscape

Smelly, I went to the corner of Colombo & Peterborough Sts. and from there the smell from the rotten food in the nearby shops and restaurants was loud and clear.  The other noticeable thing was the dirtiness of the whole area.  When we were cordoned and curfewed for 18 days after 222, there were repeated sweeps of the streets by street cleaners and so by the time the cordon was reduced, the opened up area was pretty much as clean as it has always been! But today was totally different, it’s a mess, a total mess.  Yes, the town has been opened up but there is so much crap lying around everywhere, no-one would really want to go there. Sure its early days but a lot of work needs to be done here.
I went down Peterborough St. from Colombo St. to Madras St. and was shocked.  It was truly amazingly sad what has happened, the land and building damage was mind boggling, the whole street and every building has been affected - nothing is straight anymore.

The upper west side of Strawberry Fare has peeled off..... 
Shocking and demoralizing, I went to see what was left and was expecting to see Strawberry Fare in a state that would be ready to reopen soon.  From what I had seen soon after the quake, from my exclusive view inside the cordon, the building looked ok.  But that was from the east.  Today I saw the building from the west and it became clear that one of our favourite restaurants would not be opening for some time.  The east-west shaking of the quake had peeled away large sections of the western side of the building leaving it looking sadly disfigured.  Shocking and demoralizing, as the signs say, EXTREME DANGER KEEP OUT and ROAD CLOSED!
Lots of red, white & black but no sign of the army boys here!

Looking at the block along Colombo St. between Peterborough and Kilmore Sts. It does not look good.  Starting at the corner of Peterborough and Colombo St. where the Thai Pho restaurant was and working around the street, this is how it goes.  Thai Pho – demolished. Lyme Bar – damaged but standing. Café Valentino – demolished, Art gallery, Scottish Shop, Chinese restaurant – to be demolished for sure, 2nd hand store, Sushi Shop & Whiskey Galore – building looking ok! Johnson’s Grocer, Metro Café – demolished, Sala Thai/2 antique shops/thai massage/hair dresser/dairy/Baiyok Thai Restaurant – all surely beyond repair.  Thai Smile – will be open as soon as possible.  Boutique dress shop – demolished.  Building with hair designer on street level – badly damaged.  By golly the street is going to change no matter what happens because it has to, there’s hardly anything left!
Early Childhood Building from the North-West (above) and the South-East (below)
The Casino is hoping to open by the end of May - great to see the lights on!
I then went up the Casino area and was once again surprised to see the damage.  Whole swaths of the street front are either gone or partially demolished.  On the good side, the lights were on at the casino and they have gaudy but impressive signage up advertising the reopening.  The lights at the Casino stayed on into the evening……nice touch guys nice!

The Casino once again lights up the Christchurch skyline - looks nice cos its our skyline!
I must also mention Himalayas, our favourite Indian restaurant.  The ½ rebuilt building was wrecked again on 222 but amongst the rubble I could still find the “Opening Soon” sign. We do look forward to them opening soon!
Himalayas, destroyed after the September quake, was being rebuilt only to be beaten to the finish line by the 222 quake.

Hope amongst the carnage.  Today was a reality check as it was apparent that there is just so much more work to do even in this part of the city.  We look forward to more hope and less carnage as the days move on.

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