Monday, April 04, 2011

Returning to CPIT city campus

Officially allowed to return to the CPIT city campus from 1st April with some courses starting today 4th April. I had been into the campus several times in the last fortnight, the first time, to collect personal belongings (wallet, cell phone, keys) and then a couple of brief visits last week to tidy up the office and to meet with other staff. Each time, a fleeting visit, with entry via the Moorhouse road entrance and a quick walk through the empty campus with very few signs of visible damage. Attended the staff safety briefing late last week which featured one of the consultant structural engineers. It was very reassuring as he pointed out the few places where there were signs (cracks, fallen plaster, buildings which have shifted up or down in relation to each other) and explained the structural implications.

This morning, a totally different perspective as I biked in via the border of the cordoned off red zone. Many collapsed buildings and the ones not yet demolished, are fenced off. Most of the old brick buildings housing various panel beaters, auto mechanics, familiar cafes and other shops no longer exist physically. So the blocks East (the Catholic basilica, still standing but just) and North and North West of the polytechnic, basically now a wasteland of piles of brick and debris. A list of the over 100 buildings to be demolished featured in the Saturday newspapers.

Options for rebuilding abound, including making the city more sustainable, future transport options, a blog discussing alternatives etc. There will be much to do in the future but old and familiar Christchurch city landscape is now gone.

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