Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

April 20, 2011

Of EQC, Insurance, Chlorine, Music, The Casino, Jobs for Tradesmen – and #imogenheap #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 7:51 pm

If I look at my diary, today is uneventful. It says “Controller’s briefing”. It went like this.

Biked to Art Gallery for CDEM controller’s briefing – this much is true. Sky grey, mood to match. Briefing was outstanding.

Our Earthquakes (7 events so far) are now the biggest single insurer event ever. AS IN EVER – OF ALL TIME. EQC just kicked Hurricane Katrina’s butt. There are over 450,000 individual exposures (I think that’s a five dollar word for claims). When we grizzle about EQC – might pay to bear that in mind. She’s a bit of a whopper.

We heard from our lines company Orion – while the network is at fragile (in tech speak it’s at N rather than at N-1 which is where it should be) power outs to the eastern suburbs, while expected through winter, shouldn’t be of greater than 3 hours or so in duration. (Obviously another horror aftershock and all bets are off again.)

This means that if you are like me, an easty, you can use your heatpump. Don’t get cold. If you have elderly neighbours or relatives please make sure that they are not saving the world and putting themselves at risk. Mum and Dad – this means you.

Power wise, a lot of the CBD is fed from inside the drop zone in red central. It’s going to take time to resolve that little mess.

Water and sanitation are also much improved. Terry Howes tells us chlorination (which is happening in the central zone, so if you westies haven’t figured it out yet you don’t get the bonus of swimming pool flavoured showers) will be there for another 3-5 months. Understand? Fingers crossed we will all have our pure, untreated drinking water home by spring. Awesome. Let’s hope we remember the lessons we’ve learned about water conservation and make our new normal our new future.

The Huntsbury Reservoir is out of service. There has been major structural damage. No word yet on its future – work in progress.

Leakage has dropped back from its horror peak at about 6x normal – the team are pulling it back. The system now has integrity, with normal operating pressures (mine seems improved, I think – probably due to less drain from the catchment above).

The aftershock on Saturday led to about 30 fresh breaks, which are largely resolved. All water quality sampling looks good and @christchurchcc is liasing with the CDHB regularly.

80-100km of mains are to be renewed over the next 12-18 months. This is a phenomenal amount of work. Our staff are incredible.

To the waste water treatment plant – things are improving. 6 of the settling tanks have now been working for the last week. There is still sand rising, so they are being excavated. Sorry if you’re eating, but divers have been going into the clarifiers. They are tanks filled with – stuff – which have rotating mechanical arms in them. Those arms have been catching on one side, and the divers (a medal? maybe a couple?) have been fixing them, and the other problems with the bottom of the tank.

All waste going which is going to Bromley is now going through the treatment plant. Some sewage is getting into the Avon and the Estuary from broken pipes. All the collected portaloo/chemical toilet waste is being treated.Ignore the scary stories about 3-eyed fish and formaldehyde.

Work is being done on the “no flush” zones, to ensure that messages are consistent and current. The message is unchanged tonight. If you have a chemical toilet – USE IT PLEASE. If I can – you can.

If you don’t have one, that’s cool, but yellow is mellow etc etc. Westies – you can use your loos, showers, washing machines – bear in mind about 40% is not making it past the river – so let’s not get carried away here.

Stormwater – there is a wet weather plan in place. All outlets are being checked. Water pressure pushed sandbags off some streets over the last few days. The next big tide will be in a month or so – the low pressure system is moving off shore (Chrissie Williams’ knowledge of this stuff never fails to blow me away – she’s even more of a weather nerd than I am). Staff are checking flat valves on pipelines going into the river.

EQC and Fletchers. They’re working hard on the clean heat scheme. If you need to get a heat appliance due to a chimney collapse, heat pump will be your faster choice. Orion assures us the network can take the load of the extra heat pumps.

A lot of discussion around several and separate claims and my eyes started to glaze. That’s a terrible thing to say but the messages are quite complicated. There are a number of Fletcher hubs around (14 exactly) – you may want to go and have a chat there. The last aftershock is being treated as a separate event so you can lodge a new claim for that as well (I will be.)

Because of winter, resources have been diverted from “full repair” to “quick fix response” (my jargon not theirs). Look – if your door is buggered or there’s a hole in your wall that’s letting the cold in, ring them up. 0800 damage (0800 326-243) gets them. You don’t have to go cold this winter – nobody wants you to.

Fletchers wants and needs more tradesmen. They have 2,500 inducted into their PMO (project management office.) If you’re a tradesman contemplating it – here’s some news you’ll like. FLETCHERS PAY CASH, WITHIN THE WEEK. They are short of engineers, plasterers, blocklayers. No moaning that there’s no work please – there’s the $2000 cap for home owner emergency works, but if you’re a tradesman please talk to Fletchers.

So that was that bit. (If you want to post a question in the comments section of the blog, that’s just fine – I’ll do my best to get it to the right place.)

At the end of the meeting, I dropped off the cheques that Mayor Coe gave me at yesterday’s UDSIC meeting – there are some lovely generous people all over our town.

Then off I biked to the Casino.

A very nice soldier from Wellington called Mike, helped show me the way there. (I got a bit stuck at the cordon and couldn’t find my way there – I could see the damn thing a block away – his directions were invaluable. Cheers Mike at Cordon 40 – you rock.)

I was taken on a detailed site inspection. Here’s the news – and it’s all good.

The building looks good. There are staff back there now tidying up and working towards a re-opening which is dependent on buildings being demolished and a cordon re-evaluation.

I even got to have an up close and personal inspection of the security system. Security guy Darren – you need to chillax. Honestly, I’m not going to blog the combination to the safe – unless I really feel the need to:) (Might feel the need to tweet it though – these things happen 🙂

I’m not a gambler. A very occasional flutter (usually in combination with the birthday of someone old enough to know better) and that’s me done for the next six months. But I love the venue – the glamour, the bling, the age range, the fact you can dress up and have a good time. That’s coming back to us, don’t you worry about that.

From there to see Amanda and Keegan – I mean to voice my commercials. We chatted (briefly) about the gorgeous @imogenheap. Her concert, it turns out, is Wednesday 27th at the Aurora Centre. Tickets are $20 and it’s a fundraiser for Unlimited! I’m squeeing all over the place. (There’s a stream in Auckland at the same time – $5 there – oh Imogen, you wonderful artist, thank you, thank you for your lifeline.)

And home to the glamour jobs. To bring in the firewood – done. (More needed tomorrow, a cold change on the way). To walk my lovely Pepper – done. She wagged her way through Hansen Park like a champion. And then – dun duh  DARRR  – I emptied the chemical toilet.

Me. Myself. I. Didn’t send the boys – did the decent thing. Read the instructions – followed them – and thanks to the nice man from Fulton Hogan who stopped to ask directions to York Street, I was able to get the lid off the big black tank down the road.

There’s just nothing nice about it – but you kind of get past it. It’s like when you have babies and you learn that nappies aren’t painted on.

I did feel remarkably proud of myself, having managed it (mostly) unaided. I’ve learned too that those canisters are really heavy, and I found myself much more attracted to the portaloo than I have been before.

Showered. Changed. Had a meeting here at home with one of the planning team – my lounge is now an informal meeting room (It reminds me of Studio 3 in Timaru when I worked at Radio Caroline). Once the meeting was over, Metronews 1st years turned up to do an on-camera practice piece. Traffic had held them up, the poor things – they were so apologetic.

And now I’m getting ready to enjoy the corn and bacon and potato offering that is my dinner, tidy up some paperwork, pay some bills, and get ready for the last night before Easter. I am very, very ready for it.

(Did I mention Imogen Heap? Did I mention details on my facebook page? Did I say #SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE? I did? Just checking. 🙂



  1. Driving down Moorhouse, stopped by the car yards at the Lincoln Rd lights, and they were washing the dew off the cars with high pressure hoses.

    Why isnt there a big article with an appropriate pic on the FRONT PAGE OF THE PRESS – nearest I have seen is a small article on PG 3 – if the council is serious about the waste situation, then get the message to the people in the most direct way that they will see. Tell Bob I said so:)

    Comment by lensaddiction — April 20, 2011 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  2. I use my wheelbarrow to transport my chemical toilet to the tank. I also take a watering can of water so I can rinse it out once I’ve emptied it 🙂
    I’ve noticed that some people are putting nappies in the tanks and am thinking of writing them a message on the side of the tank. PLEASE DON”T DO THIS, it will block up the hoses that are used to pump out the tanks when they are full. Theses people are doing a fabulous job and the very least we can do is to make it as easy for them as possible.

    Top blog Sue XX

    Comment by gina neighbour — April 21, 2011 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

    • Love you Neighbour. Thank you. Wheelbarrow and watering can excellent idea. Not sure what I will attach pepper to but where there’s a will there’s a way 🙂

      Comment by Sue Wells — April 23, 2011 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  3. Hi have a funeral Tuesday is beasley ave ok. trying to judge travel times from the south. All is good she was well in her 90s. Gone off to haugnt her dead husband bossy old bugger.

    Comment by Dave — April 22, 2011 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

    • Ha! Bealey gets busy in the evenings but should be ok. From south you might be better going down Fitzgerald.

      Comment by Sue Wells — April 23, 2011 @ 8:46 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: