Heritage Rules Kill

I am not one to pander to those who consider the architectural merits of this building or that and lobby councils to retain clapped out old buildings in so-called heritage zones. They always seek to have special rules for “heritage” buildings.

The simple fact is that those rules have killed people:

Attempts to repair a Christchurch building, which collapsed in last February’s earthquake killing an Israeli tourist, were “limited” by heritage rules, an inquiry has heard.

Ofer Binyamin Mizrahi, 22, was holidaying in Christchurch, staying at a backpackers in the central city.

During last February’s quake, he and three friends were eating lunch inside a white Mitsubishi van parked outside the old Winnie Bagoes restaurant at 194 Gloucester St.

Mizrahi recognised the danger, which allowed his friends to escape the van, but he was unable to get out.

The Canterbury earthquakes royal commission today heard the three-storey, unreinforced masonry heritage building, known as Wave House, was damaged in the September 2010 and December 2010 quakes.

Temporary securing work was completed on February 11 last year and a protective cordon around the building was removed soon after.

The building was still damaged and deemed quake-prone, but did not pose greater risk to the public than before September 4 2010, the commission was told.

Owners’ representative David Wallace, of Devonia Realty, said he had wanted repairs to begin in December but there were “issues” with the Christchurch City Council because of the building’s heritage status.

“We were told that [starting immediately] was not going to be the case. There were rules and regulations to be followed and that we had to confer with [the] council on every and all moves,” he said.

Work did not start until early February.

“Everything had to be done in a numerical way, blocks had to be numbered, piled and kept safe. There were very limited things we could do,” Wallace said.

“It was a complex situation made more complicated by the heritage status of the building.”

A heritage building protected by heritage killed an Israeli tourist… ironically one of the ones Phil Goff was never briefed about. I think one thing councils could and should do is place very prominent plaques on the outside of heritage buildings and those things protected by special heritage rules so that we know precisely which buildings to avoid going into.


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    Was not the one that fell on the bus killing x amount also under same rules.And if so agree warning labels need to be attached

    • Lindsay Addie

      You’re right, there has been more than one example in Chch of the heritage rules/bylaws/acts of Parliament being a hinderance to public safety.

      A lot of key evidence placed before the Royal Commission hasn’t as yet got the coverage it has deserved. And more than once the CCC hasn’t come out of the hearings smelling of roses.

  • Kthxbai

    Agree entirely with your post.

    The heritage enthusiasts delayed the alteration and demolition of buildings after the first Christchurch earthquake. 

    Is it possible for victims of subsequent collapse of the involved buildings to take civil action against people who obstructed securing these buildings?  They really do need to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

  • Hakim of phut

    Heritage buildings -20
     Modern concrete buildings  -150
    Pike River construction approved under National -29

    • Actually it was Chris Carter as Conservation minister that approved Pike RIver.

      • Hakim of phut

        It  was a resource consent , construction as built ( not all that was in the resource consent was built) and operation, after being officially opened by Brownlee.

        On 12 March 2004, Minister of Conservation Chris Carter approved the access arrangement for Pike River Coal Ltd. The arrangement included four 1.5-metre (4.9 ft)-wide emergency escape shafts within the boundaries of Paparoa National Park 

        Four escape shafts ??. …. they could have been handy…. if they were built

      • In Vino Veritas

        Whale, off the heritage topic, but reminded me of a post i put on the Standard before receiving my ban:

        Jackal, you ask “Do the families of the Pike River mine victims “love” JK”. Well mate, they shouldn’t love anyone in the Labour Party, since it was those nobs that gave approval for the mine in the first place. These are the imbeciles that decided that coal was to be taken from the mine via a ‘drift’, a gently-sloping 5 degree tunnel 2.3 km (1.4 mi) long. Thats 2.3km long. The approval included four 1.5-metre (4.9 ft)-wide emergency escape shafts within the boundaries of Paparoa National Park. The mine was anywhere up to 200m deep, with most of the work at 160m. To escape an explosion and gas via a 160m vertical climb is nigh on impossible, as is running for your life in the dark for 2.3km. Had your nutcase Party allowed the access to be closer to the actual mine itself, who knows what may have happened. However, Chris Carter was more interested in getting $70K for conservation projects for you milksops than the safety of the miners. No number of mine safety inspectors is going to prevent something similar in future. Its a bloody risky business and whack jobs like you are always looking for someone to blame and perhaps you should be looking at blaming these twerps: Clark, Cullen, Goff, King, Carter and the rest of your wet party that were round at the time (2004).

        There was a bit of running for cover after that one…

      • Hakim of phut

        VV, a drift is how most modern  deep mines operate. That idea of a vertical shaft bringing up production and miners to the surface is from before the sixties and is uneconomic.
         A drift allows mine vehicles  to drive down . Coal is bought out the same way or via some sort of piped system.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Hakim, drift mining has been around since pre 1900’s and isnt that modern. The only real reason the tunnel was put in was to prevent Paparoa being dug up – why else would you start a 2.3km long tunnel outside a National park and through a fault line?

      • Except in this case the drift was so mine vehicles could drive UP…you know to where lighter than air gases like Methane congregate…the mine entrance was below the working face of the mine

      • Hakim of phut

        And the four escape shafts required by Carters plan?

        Someone got approval to open  without the extra 3.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Hakim, it wouldnt have mattered if there had been 14 escape shafts. The mines would have had to climb vertically, at least 160m after an explosion, probably in flames. Take a reality check.

    • fatnuts

      The problems with the buildings that colapsed seem to be the same so far – they did not meet code.

    • joe bloggs

      fuck you’re a thread-jacking nob Hoik’em

      The consenting process for Pike River goes all the way back to the mid-70’s

      But it was a Liarbore government in 2004 that required construction of a single entry, 2.4km, upwards-sloping mine shaft (illegal in Australia)…

      • Hakim of phut

        Labour required  four  (upward) escape shafts. What happened to the 3 others, all should have been  1.5m wide.
        Mine was opened by Brownlee, may give you a clue who allowed it to open in unsafe condition ( and all the rest) which was  let go by understaffed mines inspectors lands  right back in Nationals court.

  • Chrissadler

    My experience was that the CCC stickering process led to an abdication of responsibility by building owners or landlords.  A cursory inspection led to a green sticker.  My landlord when pressed lied that an engineers inspection was undertaken and the building was fit to be reinhabited.

    It hadn’t and it wasn’t – it failed on June 13 and was clearly (to the untrained eye) damaged in Feb quake. I know no inspection was conducted because I sat next to the engineer who had it on his “to do” list on Feb 23.

    Fortunately I did not let my staff reoccupy the building post Feb, but I did go in with them twice to retrieve our assets. Unfortubnately the last time I went in was June 13. It was terrifying and significant damage occured to the building – it is now red stickered. I was lucky it was a 70s building with lots of steel…

    I agree – tell us which buildings are below code and we will avoid them and eventually they will have to come down.

    • Ciaron_A

      I suggest you go to http://canterbury-hearings.royalcommission.govt.nz/archive/results/194%20gloucester and listen to all the evidence presented.

      My experience was that the CCC stickering process led to an abdication of responsibility by building owners or landlords.  A cursory inspection led to a green sticker.  My landlord when pressed lied that an engineers inspection was undertaken and the building was fit to be reinhabited.

      That was not the case here.