Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

May 3, 2011

Man flu, the vice squad, and the prospects for St Martins New World #chch #eqnz

Man flu got the better of me this morning, while the rest of the council visited the eastern suburbs. I dragged my runny nose and scratchy throat out of bed around 10 with great hopes of doing some long overdue paperwork. Did the laundry, tidied the kitchen, put the porridge on – the phone went. And went, and went, and went and went and went.

A chap from somewhat south west of Christchurch, ringing me because I’m on CCHL and we own Orion and Orion had sent him a bill because he wanted to connect a new property to the network and what was the reason for the charge being so high? After a somewhat scratchy start, 22 minutes later we parted having canvassed the earthquake, his non earthquake related injuries, his employment situation, what wives say when you do stupid things, and he signed off with the latest joke from the West Melton news. (I’ll skip the start – the punchline was “so you got a bottle of wine for your husband? Good trade!)

A call to my cellphone from the council planning team, wanting to discuss meetings. My cellphone is dropping calls at the moment. I rang back the direct dial they gave me. It wasn’t theirs. Must email them tonight, while I remember.

A call from one of the local newspapers, wanting to use something I’d published elsewhere. Yes, I said.

It rang again. Another of the local newspapers, wanting a contact. Gave it to them.

A text from (you guessed it) one of the local newspapers, about a feature they are writing – I won’t give the game away but I referred them to a blog I’d written and suggested they go sleuthing. (It’s a lovely piece they’re doing too – I felt the burning need to phone a friend and share the love but the friend I wanted to tell isn’t here right now and it was one of those magical moments – drat, drat, drat.)

Back to the phone, still another of the local newspapers, my thoughts on the rise in gambling and what was the council doing about that? Everything we legally can, I replied. The conversation continued for some time after that although not with any new material until eventually it was over.

A call from a different council staff member – can we set up a meeting about our prostitution signage bylaw?

And then some alcohol related emails – a DLA hearing coming up – by the end of that triptych I felt like a one woman vice squad, and I was still in my dressing gown!

I managed to get tucked into some paperwork just after twelve. A solid three hours and a can of cold baked beans for lunch later, Pepper and I walked to the community board meeting. We started with a seminar that will roll some progress out next week, and moved into our formal agenda just on 5.

Deputations from residents in Rydal Street, which was badly hit in September and has been further compromised since. It’s a messy patch of liquefaction and hope is a long time coming. We’ll try and get some clearer timeframes for them – that’s one of the big chunks of work to do at the moment, and the staff are working to coordinate the information which needs to come from about four different agencies. Some of it simply (the land damage stuff in particular) isn’t available yet, which makes it really hard.

From the good folk of Addington, briefing us on initiatives they have been taking since February. Bravo to them, a cool little community rallying around in support of its frail, its elderly, its refugee and migrant population. The board helped them out with some funding tonight, just to help them keep on keeping on.

And from the representatives of our much loved St Martins New World. Our munted as supermarket is to be demolished. Foodstuffs have just received resource consent to rebuild a slightly bigger one, and put some shops back on the site. They briefed the board on potential tweaks to that consent which would need an amended public application, but here’s the kicker for you. They’ve been excavating on site. They’ve got to 14 metres. They still haven’t found solid ground. They remain committed to rebuilding the site but the engineering solution is going to be fascinating. (I wonder if those Dubai people are free right now?) It’s twice as deep as it was in Kaiapoi – perhaps a fast elevator to Madrid might be a goer. The short version of this is while we should see a new supermarket on that site, looking even lovelier than before, it won’t be til perhaps the middle of next year. Sigh. I do miss my pantry, but I know it will be back.

We heard too from the sports and rec team about the swimming pool situation. Christchurch has gone from having 65 x 25 metre lanes to having 21 of them. That will improve once the Graham Condon centre (still miss you love) opens later this year, and will improve again when the Pioneer Learn To Swim pool takes some of the school burden off the proper lanes. At the moment though, swimming is booming at Pioneer, and at Wharenui, because of poor old QEII and Centennial. QEII in particular is properly trashed. It’s such a shame. We have such great staff there too (right across the board in fact), and it’s been a horrible week for them with the news that the earthquake has potentially affected their jobs too.

Having a job and some decent prospects makes such a difference about how you feel about the challenge going forward. I know a number of people who’ve had to leave just now for employment reasons. It breaks my heart. Great people, people I care about, people I love are now scattered from one end of the country to the other. It’s my goal to bring you home, each and every one. That will only happen if we pull finger and create a positive environment where business and community can thrive. That’s the goal. That’s what keeps me going. I’ve got skin in this game. I’m not giving up.

And then we resolved a whole lot of minor street matters, granted some more funding allocations, and Pepper and I had a wee run home. (She was awfully good, waited so patiently for me outside. Was brave too, because it was dark.) I didn’t overdo it, because man flu and running are a dangerous combination, but I crave it, I crave it, I want to blast through the streets while the autumn leaves are still there and run until I can’t feel my legs. Until I can’t feel anything but endorphins and the woody air in my lungs.

Tonight, I’m back on the paperwork. Another three hours or so, and then another few tomorrow morning, before my friends are coming to stay. Must do something about that spare room. I shall think magical thoughts and it will happen without me realising it.

One of these days, I really must learn to multi-task ….



  1. Nice that you are real in your comments. We exist now to improve Christchurch, nothing else, just to be here and to see a future in all that we do. I paint in Opawa, come and visit sometime. D

    Comment by David Woodings — May 3, 2011 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

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