500 commercial buildings in Christchurch to be demolished or repaired by 31st January. If not, the council will move in, repair, demolish and bill the owners. Bob Parker is claiming the deadline is because there are statutory obligations surrounding public safety. He mentioned public safety a lot on Morning Report and claims; “I think there is a danger to people and there is a danger to business and I guess you have to weigh up, which do we have the first responsibility to and always that is the people, the people, the people.”
Lovely sentiments Bob.
Now lets look at some public safety orientated headlines from Christchurch.
…the Fire Service was now concerned about the possible health effects after discovering the roof was possibly made of asbestos and was warning people to stay away from the scene, he said.
“The best thing is for people to stay away from the area and anyone who lives in the area to stay inside and close their doors,” Mr Norris said.
“We have experts from the council environmental pollution team going down to the scene,” he said.
And then there was the Mail Centre which
was evacuated Friday after employees refused to continue working due to exposure to heavy amounts of dust suspected to be asbestos.
Those news items resulted from a google search for ‘Christchurch’ and ‘asbestos’. Apart from reports on those two asbestos related incidents of July 7th 2010 and Dec 13th 2008 respectively, post-quake there is only this post on the ‘The Standard’ and this single news report warning
Earthquake damage may have exposed dangerous asbestos in Canterbury houses and businesses, experts warn.
The Department of Labour yesterday released a factsheet on asbestos management, recommending people get professionals to check suspicious materials.
Now, I expect some will be of the persuasion that given our media’s relaxed – nay, comatose reaction to the asbestos question, that I’m just being bloody silly. In which case, read the DoL factsheet ( it’s short…linked above) that was released following the quake and decide for yourself whether media silence on the matter is warranted.
And if the silence is not warranted, then the next question would have to be whether Bob Parker and his council’s 31/1/11 deadline for repairs or demolition of commercial buildings is giving one whit for public safety or whether it actually constitutes a threat to public safety.
And if you have gotten this far, you might like to ponder what action if any can be taken against the man and his council either now or in the future given that the CERRA abrogates all liability and responsibility attached to statutory responsibilities insofar as it gives a green light to any action taken in response to the quake as long as the person or persons behind the action can make a reasonable claim to have been acting in ‘good faith’.