Living on the edge

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2012
bill martin
Kirk Hargreaves

ISOLATED: Bill and Sally Martin live on the edge of the red zone in Wainoni Rd.

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Bill and Sally Martin look out over their Christchurch community from a balcony at the back of their home.

Bill Martin points across the rooftops.

''There will be nothing from here to the bridge and the river. We are right out on the edge,'' he said.

''It is not a place to be. We can't cope with it. It is too big for us.''

The residential red-zone boundary runs down the edge of the Martins' Wainoni driveway and along their back fence, passing within metres of their front step.

When the red-zoned houses have been demolished, the Martins will be able to see all the way to Porritt Park and the Avon River from their balcony.

They are not happy to see the community they have enjoyed for 40 years demolished around them.

''One neighbour will go and then another neighbour will go. All the people we know will be gone. It will just be empty, cracked houses,'' Martin said.

''We have spent 40 years volunteering in our community. When you do that, it becomes part of you.

''All the stuff we have worked for all these years for will be lost. That is soul-destroying and I don't need that in my stage in life.

''If I was younger I would see it as an opportunity and stay here, but time is against us.''

The memories and roots go deep. The nearby Wainoni Methodist Church in Avonside Dr, which will be demolished as part of the red-zone clearance, is where they got married, where their children were christened and married and where Sally Martin's father is buried.

''This is our neighbourhood, but not as we know it,'' she said.

''I have lived in the area for nearly 60 years. A lot of people haven't got their heads around it.

''With the houses still there, people don't realise the scale of what will happen.''

Bill Martin said he did not want to stay in the home and see his community demolished.

''It is devastating. We are constantly living with the aftermath,'' he said.

''We know the community is going to disappear. All the buildings and all the people will be gone. I don't want to see it being destroyed.''

The couple have sold their home and will move out next week to a bach in Coalgate in Canterbury.

Bill Martin has mixed feelings about leaving his home..

''It is sad, but we are relieved that it has come to a final end,'' he said.

''When you leave a suburb after 40 years there is always a tear, but I think we have made the right decision.''

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- The Press

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