The Deaf club building has served the community in Christchurch for almost 50 years. It was purpose built in 1964, and deaf people were involved in its construction.
The building at 232 Armargh Street just a few hundred metres NorthEast of Christchurch’s cathedral was damaged in the earthquake of 22nd February 2011…
But the final death knell was when the government announced in mid 2012 that it was simply going to take possession of 60% of the CBD (aka downtown) area from the rightful owners. Over 800 properties are to be taken, whether the owners like it or not. The government claimed it was essential to do this because there is such a massive “over-supply of land” that it is “almost worthless”. Note land in New Zealand’s major cities is some of the most expensive in the world, and our wages are amongst the lowest in the western world.
With the small amount of “take it or leave it” compensation offered to landowners, the Deaf Club in Christchurch (along with most of the other owners of Eastern CBD land taken by the govt) will be unable to secure comparable alternative premises.
With respect to the CBD land seizures and the much vaunted “blueprint”, I think that if the national government (based in Wellington but comprising mostly Aucklanders and northern North Islanders) had just stayed butt out of it, Christchurch could well be much further along the route to reconstuction and rebuild. Groups like the Deaf Society could be enjoying moving into brand new premises, re-built on their own existing land, with the bill almost, if not entirely, paid for by their insurance.
This is the case for a relative handful of “lucky” (or, dare I say it, ‘well-connected’)land-owners on the western side of the CBD. Antony Gough is a property investor who owns substantial land west of Cathedral Square, which IS NOT being seized by the government. He has been reported in the media, railing against eastern CBD landowners who have complained about the injustice of the ‘take it or leave it’ compensation they have been offered. Note that Antony Gough’s string of fancy bars, restaurants and cafes along Oxford Terrace (which is being re-named to make it more ‘upper class’) are being re-built at a cost of some NZ $ 140 million (with the vast majority of that bill most likely paid for by insurance). I wonder if western CBD landowners, including not just Mr Gough, but also several other ‘big names’ in Christchurch real estate ownership, whether their opinions of the CBD Blueprint might change if the govt took all their land off them and paid them as little as the eastern CBD landowners are getting ?
I recorded many segments of Standard Definition 3×4 video footage, using a cheap tripod. Some other people there had more advanced cameras although I was the only person present with a tripod. My filming that day (Thursday 8 August 2013) totaled 32 minutes. If someone wants the raw footage from me to properly edit up into a longer program, then please contact me.
The video attached here is a selection of several segments I filmed. One video shows some of the people present. However people came and went throughout the day. Some people were standing well to the north of where I was and therefore are not on video.