Monday, May 5, 2014

Chch: A Problem Of Priorities

An interesting juxtaposition of stories in the Christchurch Press last week. Humour me, if you will...
(1) Work on the Sumner Road (Sumner-Lyttelton over the top of the peninsula) could begin this year. Rock blasting, major earthworks etc., with a price-tag of $40m to merely reinstate it to its pre-quake condition (even though much more than that's required).
(2) Chch City Council needs about $3 million to fix closed wharves and jetties. These aren't of major importance to shipping, but the type that folk fish off or dive off on hot summer days.
Still with me? Ok...
In March, the city suffered a supposed "one-in-100-year" flood... then last week went through even more flooding! This was the third flooding in ten weeks after heavy rain. Having experienced 'heavy rain' in many parts of the world, I believe last week's rain was NOT the sort of prolonged downpour that should have caused this. Hell, it was only 50mm. Moan about that to West Coasters, and they'd laugh in your face!
The problem is NOT the rain, but that the infrastructure, still damaged post-earthquakes, simply cannot cope. And council seems in a state of 'headless chickens' about finding a solution. Mayor Lianne Dalziel says "the increase in flooding frequency is mostly due to the high number of storm events rather than the condition of the rivers". Riiiiiigghhtt!
A taskforce is due to report to Council on 12 May - great consolation to those whose homes stand wet and rotting. These areas rarely if ever suffered flooding before the EQs, so it's obvious the problem is related. But Council still awaits a report.
And still continues to spend money on items that should be WAY down the priorities list, like wharf pile replacements, and reopening a scenic route.
Christchurch City Council's priority MUST be its people.
And if, as reported by The Press, Mayor Dalziel is "showing the strain" of leadership, I say: suck it up. You wanted the job. So DO it!
House the families, dredge the rivers, replace the pipes, clear the gutters, look after the people... FAST!!!

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