“Only when we stop stopping our lives can we begin to start starting them.”
– Professor Whitman
This quote sums up how I’m feeling this week as we head into the 2nd anniversary of the 22 February quake. How much have we let the earthquake stop the things that normally make up our lives and when is it ok to start them again? The issue for us now as a community is to recognise that we are all making progress (or not) at different times and this certainly impacts on how much ‘earthquake’ we have in our daily lives, thoughts and conversations. It seems a good time to remember to look out for others around us and to look for opportunities around us that give something back for the time we invest.
If photography is your thing and you’d like to invest some time and energy on 22 February, volunteer photographers are sought to get some good high quality photographs from the various River of Flowers commemoration sites. If you are able to assist in this way please contact Evans@qegroup.ac.nz.
I know we don’t do politics but check this out all you Red Zoner Vacant Land people – Full Compensation Pledged for Christchurch Landowners. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1302/S00204/full-compensation-pledged-for-christchurch-landowners.htm
Brian and Leanne
Coastal Pathway Concept Plan
Christchurch City Council has approved the draft concept plan for the proposed Christchurch Coastal Pathway to be released for community consultation.
This is great news for the dedicated community members who have worked hard to fit this plan into the larger infrastructure recovery and this is the most encouraging sentence in the media release,
“The Council, working in partnership with the community-based Coastal Pathway Group, …”
Let’s hope many more community and local authority partnerships are embraced. Consultation is expected to begin in March. Details on the consultation will be available in the coming weeks./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
WeCan Media Release 14 February
‘Please Earthquake Minister as you show foreign media around the inner city on Friday tell the full story about the recovery here in Canterbury’ Click here to read the WeCan media release./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Online Readers for Newsletters
Lyttelton Information Centre has changed its newsletter format and is now using issuu as its online reader. It is a freebee site that archives well and could be worth considering if you send regular communications to your community. Check it out./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
(Grating) Words from Minister Gerry Brownlee
There have been a couple of comments that Gerry has made this week that are hard to argue with but still grate on the nerves as being a partial truth only. Putting a positive spin on his comments, he is acknowledging the difficulties with settling a residential claim in Canterbury and talks about resolution of this being a priority within CERA. On a more negative note, he fails to articulate what he believes the issues really are, what specific actions are being taken by CERA to ‘speed up the delivery of solutions’, and he also fails to recognise that even if there has been substantial progress within the insurance situation (most people assessed and many have an offer and some have been repaired or know when that will happen), some are just stuck and there has been little to no progress for these people. This is a message we are passing onto CERA and we are asking for some real specifics to be made publicly available so that those who are in the worst situation can feel confident that they will not be forgotten in the midst of others progress.
(Example one from Press article 15.2.13)
“He also spoke about Technical Category 3 (TC3) land and said people were working hard to ”create viable options and speed up the delivery of solutions”.
”I know there is still much frustration in TC3 but there is also ample evidence that things are moving in a positive direction on a number of fronts.”
And here’s the other ‘grating’ example from the latest Greater Christchurch Recovery Update:
I hear a lot about a lack of community input into the recovery. This is nonsense. Communities are driving the recovery. Throughout the city, people have led the way and supported each other, developing closer and more resilient community networks. They are now identifying what they need in order to be an effective part of the recovery picture, from events which bring their communities together, to suburban plans and precinct developments. This community-led impetus is within the context of a planning and investment framework provided by the government, through CERA and other government agencies, and local territorial authorities.
Communities will continue to play a key role, and to suggest otherwise is to demonstrate a lack of respect to those in these communities working so hard. There is no place for those who wish to slow progress and put vested interests above those of the communities of Greater Christchurch, however, we will always support those playing a positive role in the recovery.
Again, on one level he is telling a truth. There have been ample opportunities for discussion on Recovery Plans, there has been support and funding available for some community connecting projects and events, there are even people employed in CERA to enable communities to be part of the community-led recovery.
But here’s the grating comment, “They (communities) are now identifying what they need in order to be an effective part of the recovery picture.” People have consistently identified the need for CERA to facilitate solutions to the residential rebuild aspect of the recovery so that they can even begin to have the energy to participate in the wider Canterbury rebuild. This community-led priority has not been given the respect of a conversation between community representatives and the Minister.
Note to the Minister: having this conversation will speed the recovery up and make it a more positive and community-led one for a whole lot more Cantabrians/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
EQC Customer Advocacy Group Update
This group met again this week to hear about the land settlement intended communications and to clarify a few other points. Things to note from that meeting are:
- there is a Vulnerable Programme in place meant to fast-track the claims of those who fit a certain criteria – age, health, etc. These people will have a small group supporting them (much like the pod system). If you know of people who may need to be considered to be part of this, contact the call centre. Note that this is a programme designed to meet the needs of those who need extra support to get through their claim, not those who are necessarily having the most stressful time.
- The group strongly recommended that EQC communicate this Programme to the community so that it can be used effectively and for those who due to age or real health needs need added and faster support.
- Land settlement information is still coming – they are trying to put together a flow chart of sorts that will help people identify where they may be in the process and to begin to address resident expectations (which at the moment we can’t measure because we have so little information about what constitutes land damage needed compensation and how the damage cost is figured. Even trying to understand where things are at in a small group meeting such as this was was difficult and I imagine trying to communicate information enmasse is proving to be something of a headache.
- We have agreed to a system where the Customer Advocates will be part of the agenda setting so that specific community priority issues can be discussed. There will also be a Q&A component for those questions which need a quick and simple answer. Members of the group will be responsible for passing on to their networks these Q&A responses and information gleaned from the group discussion
Southern Response Overcap Cash Claims Settlement Changes
These changes open up some very well possibilities for people facing the more challenging situations. If you have further questions, please discuss it with your case manager. If you know of others who may be interested and fit within the criteria, please pass the information on.
“For some time we have wanted to be able to offer cash settlement at replacement value to a wider group of customers. We now have approval from the 42 reinsurers on our panel to offer cash settlements in circumstances that do not compromise the fundamental premise of the AMI insurance policy. The change represents a small but significant change to our current policy.”
Following on from the Southern Response Customer Meetings held this week they are endeavouring to get the unedited video of the customer meeting online early next week, along with the foundation solutions video and probably the powerpoint presentation as well. The Q&A will follow as soon as they are written up. SR is also trying to finalise EQC land compensation deed of assignment information but this will take a little longer.
We have heard a lot of comments about the Customer Meetings. If you would like to provide constructive feedback – positives, negatives, further clarification needed, etc, please email email@example.com as we will be passing the overall feedback onto SR. Please be specific in the feedback as it’s an opportunity for improvements and for customers and SR to come closer together in communication.
(From Southern Response Chief Executive, Peter Rose)
Cash settlements – Over Cap claims
For some time we have wanted to be able to offer cash settlement at replacement value to a wider group of customers. We now have approval from the 42 reinsurers on our panel to offer cash settlements in circumstances that do not compromise the fundamental premise of the AMI insurance policy. The change represents a small but significant change to our current policy.
Until now, we have only been able to offer cash settlement via the following options:
· Market value cash payment (based on indemnity value rather than replacement value)
· Buy another house
· Contract for a self managed build
Unlike some other insurers, our principle objective is to repair or rebuild – rather than to settle the claim in any way we can. However, the new policy does acknowledge that there are some circumstances where a cash settlement at replacement value is an appropriate response.
The new policy is aimed at situations such as:
· Where the customer’s land presents an unviable build, such as the very worst TC3 land. Our cash settlement at replacement value in this case will include NZS3604 (standard) foundation options only.
· Very difficult or lengthy builds due to the characteristics of the existing house or land, such as a precarious hill build or where there are extensive complications of shared services and uninsured works.
· Extreme personal circumstances such as serious illness of the customer or a member of their immediate family living with them.
· Where the build cannot be supervised efficiently, such as where the customer is building in the North Island or overseas.
· Extreme difference between what the customer had and what they now want, such as where the customer plans a major upgrade in what they are building or buying (as evidenced by a build contract or a sale and purchase agreement).
· Where the customer wants to offset the extra land cost in a house and land package within Canterbury.
· As a minor cash provision for a customer who is willing to take an expedited, lower value build (up to around 10% lower).
· In the case of a well defined downsizing, such as customer moving into a retirement village.
Each request for a cash settlement at replacement value will be considered on a case by case basis by senior management./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
EQC – Asbestos handling information has been updated
Thanks to Lawrence – AvonsideBlog for keeping a track of these updates)
EQC have updated their asbestos webpage (http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eqc.govt.nz%2Fcanterbury-earthquakes%2Fhome-repair-process%2Fasbestos&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNE_C9-HIZt_KocLWEPHDCngaKDLrg), adding more information about how they are dealing with it.
The bulk of the new information is in the section How we’re dealing with asbestos which now reads:
The presence of building materials that could contain asbestos is identified when the Canterbury Home Repair Programme team visits your home to scope your earthquake repairs. (This team includes an EQC representative, the Fletcher EQR contracts supervisor and the contractor.)
If asbestos is suspected, samples of the damaged area are taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. (The testing is completed by an independent certified asbestos testing laboratory.)
If the test confirms that the damaged building material contains asbestos, then the EQC representative, contracts supervisor and contractor agree on the most appropriate repair option, following the New Zealand Guidelines for the Management and Removal of Asbestos and New Zealand Asbestos Regulations.
+ Earthquake-damaged ceilings that contain friable (crumbling) asbestos are removed.
+ Ceilings that have very little or no damage are enclosed behind plasterboard.
+ Damaged wall panels are either removed, replaced, or repaired.
Asbestos that poses a health risk is always removed. Where asbestos is identified in a house tagged for repair, the homeowner is always notified./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
EQC – yet more changes to the Opting Out rules
Earlier this week EQC made changes to their Opting out web page (see here). Further changes have been made, introducing more detail into the opting out process.
A major change is that, once you have sent EQC your Opt Out application, you must wait up to 15 working days before you will know if EQC will allow you to begin the process. So, without EQC’s permission, you cannot get started with opting out. Click here to go to AvonsideBlog for more about what this may mean for homeowners considering Opt Out.
Sewerage Blow Back – Safety Advice
If SCIRT is dealing with the sewer pipes in your area, hopefully you will have received a note in your letterbox advising you what to do if there is a risk of sewer blow-back – gladwrap or a towel and a brick! In the really unfortunate event of sewer blowing back up through your toilet as underground infrastructure works are happening in your neighbourhood, take note of the following advice from a Health Protection Officer, Community & Public Health:
“Where the effluent has blown over the walls, ceiling etc then professional clean up should occur. However where the toilet has been sealed with Glad wrap then there is little difference from a toilet that has been used by a householder with explosive diarrhoea and could easily be cleaned with bleach, gloves, toilet brush and cloth. I would advise that the contaminated gladwrap is double bagged before being disposed of in a rubbish bin and that the toilet brush and cloth be soaked in bleach following cleaning (or the cloth could be disposed of with the gladwrap if the homeowner is unhappy to reuse following soaking).”
From CCC – If you need professional cleaning due to sewer blowback, contact the call centre on (03) 941 8999 and they will organise for City Care to come and deal with the issue. There is no cost to the homeowner and they are normally there within the hour.
From WDC – If the contractor is still in the street, approach them for help first. If this isn’t an option, contact the council number on (03) 311 8900 and register it as a service request./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>