Great Facts about Christchurch

Here are some facts about Christchurch.

Since the Napier earthquake in the 1930’s every New Zealander has been contributing (via taxes and fuel purchases) to the Government Natural Disaster Fund – a pot of money managed by the Earthquake Commission (ECQ). To be used to help New Zealand  recover from any natural disaster. The Government (via the fund) will pay the first $100,000 of any damage sustained to your home (caused by a natural disaster) provided you have property insurance. The remainder is covered by your insurance company.



The entire pot (not accessed since its creation) has been exhausted by the 4 earthquakes recently experienced by Canterbury. September 2010, February 2011 (big/shallow one that caused all the damage to the central business district), June 2011 and December 2011.

181 people lost their lives in the February earthquake. Most death occurred when two city centre buildings, built in the 1970’s, collapsed during the 24 seconds of shaking at 1pm on February 22nd 2011. No lives have been lost is the subsequent earthquakes

There have been over 10,000 aftershocks since September 2010 and the unknown fault lines now mapped in Canterbury!!

The cost of the Canterbury earthquakes is estimated to be $30b.

The earthquakes resulted in over 385,000 insurance claims – the world’s third biggest natural disaster in terms of insurance claims. Hurricane Katrina and the Japanese Tsunami resulted in more insurance claims

The Central Business District (CBD) Red Zone is reducing in size each week as unsafe buildings are being deconstructed.

771 buildings in the CBD have been demolished so far with 178 to go. The CBD Red Zone is currently about 5 square blocks centred around Cathedral Square

The Crowne Plaza and Grand Chancellor have already been demolished with Rydges Hotel, The Heritage, The Millennium and Rendezvous Hotel (formerly The Marque) hoping to reopen later this year or mid 2013. The George is currently closed for cosmetic repairs. The Novotel starts its cosmetic repairs very shortly and The Ibis is due to reopen soon.

The Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square  is currently being deconstructed as it is deemed too unsafe for people to try and save it. The Catholic Cathedral is currently being restored at a cost of $100m

A new Anglican Cathedral is being rebuilt very close to Cathedral Square. Known as the ‘cardboard Cathedral’ is will be built of timber, steel and cardboard at a cost of $5m and following a Japanese design. It will seat 700 people and be ready by Christmas 2012.

– The population of Christchurch has reduced by approx 10,000 people with an influx of about 20,000 trades people/engineers/assessors due this year as the rebuild starts in earnest

The unemployment rate in Christchurch is 6.4% – below the national average with more jobs becoming available in the construction industry.

There are 140,000 residential homes in Christchurch. 100,000 of these were damaged. There is currently a 3 year waiting list for repairs for the lower priority houses

9,000 residential homes have been ‘Red Zoned’. These are houses mainly in the Eastern Suburbs where the liquidfaction was the worst. The Government has deemed the land un-repairable and has purchased each house at the 2008 property valuation.  it has given the occupants 9 months to vacate. These homes will then be demolished and the land returned to nature.

Our new ‘pop-up’ shopping centre opened in November 2011 next to our main Department store in the city centre. Consisting 27 shipping containers, decorated and nicely kitted out it has provided a focal point for shoppers and visitors to Christchurch – see photos attached

Creative and innovative ideas for decorating waste/gap land all around Christchurch are emerging. Book exchanges, coffee kiosks, life size chess sets, gardens planters and pots are popping up on street corners. My favorite was an outdoor cinema where you are required to pedal a bike to power the movie on the screen! Gap Filler Project Volunteers continue to do amazing things around Christchurch.

Let us know what you think!

Safe Travels,
Ian Swain

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