This week has been hectic, regardless of what my diary looked like. It has involved my house a lot. I’m not going to go into the domestic details, but it has been stressful and time consuming. That having been said, as I write today the issue that’s been on the boil has been sorted successfully with the much appreciated help of a wonderful friend, and life is looking very much brighter.
I’ve scampered down to Dunedin for the weekend to visit friends and family and I’m writing from a lovely little café in the Octagon. A pretty city, Dunedin, and I do like Dunedin City Council’s free wi-fi – an idea worth adopting for our own CBD methinks.
So the week went a bit like this.
Monday – our Central City Plan catchup which I wrote about last time.
Tuesday – our weekly Councillor briefing, at which we are updated on a variety of issues. We discussed some particular building issues, gave some thought to the nexus between Council and CERA where heritage buildings are concerned, clarified who’s who in the current climate – the usual things you’d be expecting your governing body to do. I had a meeting about the house after that, a hot date with my hairdresser in the afternoon, and then a Community Board workshop that evening. (My lovely hairdresser, Stewart Corkin of Corkin and Friends is keeping me presentable for Susan Sells. “Thank God you didn’t give me credit for your hair last week – those roots!” I hung my head in shame. In case you’re wondering, he’s working out of Loaf Salon in Rutland Street until his salon opens up in the CBD, hopefully only a few months away.)
Wednesday, we filmed some Susan Sells spots first thing. They’re catch up slots for clients who can’t make our Friday afternoon sessions, timed around my day to day Council duties. Filming starts at 7.45, which means me getting to hair and makeup at 7. Which means leaving at 6.30. Which should mean me getting up at 5.30. Which is no doubt why I woke at 4am. By the time I got to makeup, I was ready to go back to sleep. There is only so much polyfilla you can wear to make you look awake. It wasn’t enough.
Pepper had decided she was coming with me to work, and I had my running gear in the car. At the end of the filming session (about 8am) I texted my running buddy Chris and we ran a half marathon at McLeans Island. It was the most beautiful warm, calm nor’west morning. The rain started at about 18km, and we walked the last couple of ks. Having foolishly made rather a good bet with him on who’s going to have the fastest time at the SBS half marathon tomorrow week I was rather concerned to discover that the bugger has actually been training in my absence and I now run the risk of losing rather a good bottle of Black Estate Pinot Noir (which I’ve yet to acquire, Ms Blair, we need to talk!). I shall have to either pull finger or hope he catches the man flu.
I had a chore I needed to complete at one of the local malls. It was lunchtime. It was raining. Full tv makeup, hair sprayed and back-combed and showing the effects of having worn a sweat-scarf for 21kms in the rain, wearing sweaty merino running clothes and splashed with mud, I must have looked the picture of corporate delectability. There were so many people there I eschewed the delights of the food court and decided to celebrate my first half marathon in a month with something healthy and wholesome at MacDonalds in Papanui instead. Dropped Pepper off at home, went into Council for a meeting with the head of planning. Voiced commercials. Bought treats at Mercato for good boys who deserved them. Went home. Picked clothes for Friday’s filming. Packed for my weekend away. Emails. Mail. Showered, changed. Off to a meeting that night with CERA and Gerry Brownlee. (I’ll detail that separately – there’s a lot to take in.) Was meant to get to Press Newspaper 150 year celebration – ran out of time.
Thursday – raining. Biked to monthly full Council meeting, at Beckenham Service Centre. A good agenda (up on the council website if you’re keen to look.) We agreed to investigate some further alcohol ban areas for Merivale, Papanui, Banks Peninsula. A Private Plan Change for a piece of land in Halswell West was accepted for notification. We agreed a submission to the Government Policy Statement of Land Transport Funding (stay awake – we’re advocating for increased funding opportunities for active transport which could be incredibly important as we redesign the city going forward). And the really exciting part – we agreed to the creation of an Events Venue Hub in North Hagley Park – so the partying is coming back to town. (Mind you, it’s already started doing that. I went to the opening of the Christchurch Casino on Thursday night. It was a lovely occasion. How nice to see a real mix of people from 20 to 100, out in their finery, enjoying a wine or a coffee and a chat with friends. Not everyone who goes to the Casino gambles, by the way. They have bands there, dancing, and the drag show on Victoria Street outside before it opened bodes well for some fun in the city even before all the buildings are sorted).
That work too is starting to push forward now. CERA announced this week that the contract for demolition of the Grand Chancellor has been awarded. Work is forecast to take about 9 months, but my hunch is they’ll try to pull the drop zone back before the thing is totally down – I’m feeling much more confident that life will start coming back to the CBD within the next year, and the sooner the better.
Before I made it to the Casino, I went to an awards ceremony for IPENZ. That’s the professional organisation for engineers in New Zealand. It was a repeat performance of the awards ceremony they held earlier this year in Wellington. As the recipient of the President’s Award was unable to attend that occasion, it was replicated at Peppers at Clearwater (brilliant venue, by the way – lovely, classy, close to the airport – a great choice for a meeting).
585 engineers who worked in Christchurch as volunteers after the seismic events were the awardees. If you are one of them and you haven’t yet included your name on the Hall of Fame, do it. I was so proud to see Mark Christison, the stellar Council engineer who has supervised the waste water recovery be chosen to be one of the two who physically accepted the award. Mark’s compassion and commitment to the community is to me the essence of everything that’s great about our local government organisation. I have a newfound respect and admiration for the engineers who have supported us so. For that reason, I’ve agreed to be on a little voluntary group providing some governance liaison to the IPENZ board – I think I’m there as the token Arts graduate who needs to understand things in “Englished”!
Perhaps foolishly, when approached by Steve Clarke that night and asked if it were true that I’m the kind of woman who likes a challenge, I said yes. That’s why I have challenged Lianne Dalziel to a duel. It does seem that I’m about to learn how to fence as part of an act of charity. Oh dear. How hard can it possibly be????
Friday started with a Resource Consent hearing, and moved on to filming Susan Sells before hitting the airport and heading to Dunedin. I’m having a lovely relaxing time, the coffee is good, the fire is warm, the people are just lovely, and to have the chance to just sit quietly and write is absolute bliss.
(Oh – and Susan Sells is taking on the big boys. It’s official. I think Resource Consent has been obtained – or maybe that’s just a rumour …)