Blueprint could unleash a beast or two

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 09:58 13/08/2012

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Jane Bowron

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OPINION: For days now Kilmore St has been snaked with a long line of black pipe lying on top of the road in the centre strip, bringing to mind the Danny Boy lyrics - 'the pipes, the pipes are calling from glen to glen and down the mountain side'.

Men from Scirt (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) as opposed to men in skirts arrive to cluster in spots along the pipeline like ice fishermen in deep concentration dropping lines into the depths to see what lies beneath.

Scatological paranoia abounds as residents wonder if there is a secret stool- watching agenda to their business, with each house and flat monitored for any shapeshifting change to our deposits, all to be taken down and reported faithfully back to boffins at the Health Ministry.

The pipe comes with its own noise, the crackling sound of resin drying at the joins as if it is a living, breathing thing rumbling in the jungle. A notice appears in the letterbox apologising for any inconvenience and notifying us that the road will be hijacked because of infrastructural requirements until October.

I like their roadwork etiquette giving us the benefit of being in the know and a time frame to work with. Being the dimwitted creature of habit that I am, I still keep turning the car into Kilmore St realising with irrational mounting rage that I can't cross the centre line and have to do another circuit to enter the abode.

But I must admit I have hoisted the bicycle over the line once or twice, feeling a strange glee like a small child playing on a deserted railway line.

There is a wild beauty and something romantic about some of the destruction and demolition that surrounds us as you stumble about the broken landscape in the dismal weather. It answers to a humbling realisation within that we were daft and arrogant to entertain the audacity of trying to control the natural world.

If only they'd stop fiddling with abandoned blocks of land, half-heartedly tarting them up under the guise of community strengthening agendas. It is what it is, a building fell there and damage was done. It seems twee to spend wasted effort on pieces of land trying to make them look "nice".

I leave town for a few days and am bailed up by an Aucklander who informs me with true Jafa-style patronisation that "we" were so stupid to have built the CBD where it is, as if I was in some way responsible or it happened a couple of decades ago as I tell them good luck with your volcanoes, and then Tongariro and White Island blow.

Still the letters page trills with misogynistic attacks in an unholy war against Bishop Victoria Matthews as she remains firm in her resolve not to rebuild the Christ Church Cathedral, standing up to those unlikely bedfellows Philip Burdon and Jim Anderton who now want to take their ideas of restoration to the next legal level.

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Who died and made these past-it polies the bosses of the Anglican Church?

After leaving town for a few days, I returned after the Christchurch rebuild blueprint had been announced and tried to get my head around the grand plan, and grand it is with everything in it on a big scale, a convention centre that takes up blocks of land with two high-rise hotels in it sticking out like sore thumbs.

The green frame to the plan has been greeted with a green thumbs-up but one wonders how long it will be before the council, struggling to pay the price for an ailing convention centre, sells off tracts of the green baize to developers. And who will police this large area of green spaces at night when the late- night revellers spill out from the cafes and bars?

As for a new covered stadium, it is an outrage when we have a perfectly adequate edifice in Addington that could be altered to host international tests.

The abandonment of the repair of the Centennial Pool is reckless because the new pool, which will take years to build, will only have 10 lanes for residents to swim in. Cashed up red-zoners in the market to buy will have to factor in massive rates hikes from a council that has flogged off its assets. And don't forget the pending introduction of water rates. We'll be the Jafas of the South Island in no time.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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