Update: Friday 23 December 2011, 11pm

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says today’s earthquakes were not totally unexpected, although still very unsettling and distressing for city residents.

“GNS scientists have been telling us that there was a likelihood that we would have an aftershock of this magnitude,” he said

“Thankfully there has been no loss of life or serious injury. This is not a miracle and today’s events show that we have been right to be cautious. We have done so much work over the past 15 months to make our city safe. We have the red zones and the white zones in the right place.”

Mr Parker says he is delighted that most of the city’s malls, including the Central City Re:Start shopping precinct intend to open tomorrow.

“It is very important we bounce back from today’s events. For retailers it is one of the biggest trading days of the year and they need to open.”

Shops opening on Saturday

The Palms, Riccarton Mall and the Cashel Mall (including Re:Start and Ballantynes) will open tomorrow. 

Several SuperValue and Fresh Choice supermarkets will be open for grocery shopping, including stores at Lincoln Road, Wairakei Road, Sumner, Fendalton and Barrington. Check the websites of other stores to see if they will be open tomorrow.

Power update

There are now less than 400 homes in the New Brighton area without power and some of these may not have power restored until tomorrow.

The network is still fragile, particularly in the New Brighton area where Orion is using back-up systems following damage at Transpower’s Bromley substation. 

New Brighton people should prepare for a night without power whether they have a power supply at the moment or not.  

Windsor welfare centre

The Windsor School hall has been activated as a welfare centre for those seeking overnight shelter.  No catering is provided, so people planning to use the centre need to bring their own supplies (food and bedding etc).  No-one was at the centre by 10pm this evening.

Geotech update

Minor to moderate rock falls and cliff collapse were observed in some of the areas examined this afternoon by geotech experts. Temporary protection works that were put in place since February performed satisfactorily and no new life-safety issues were observed.

People are advised to stay away from the Port Hills unless they live there or need to be there. 

All residents of homes that have been issued notices prohibiting entry under section 124 of the Building Act are advised to keep away from these homes. Any limited access agreements that have been put in place for these homes for ongoing maintenance have been put on hold until further checks are carried out. This will happen in the coming weeks, not days.

Liquefaction on roads

There is flooding and liquefaction on many roads (including roads around the lower Avon, particularly lower Avondale Road) and 20 jetting crews are out on the streets tonight clearing blocked sewers and repairing water leaks. 

Contractors will be out tomorrow clearing silt from the roads. 

There has been some damage and cracking to stop banks in the lower Avon.

Water infrastructure

The city’s water infrastructure is fine and water pressure is being maintained.  There is no need to boil water.  Water testing will get underway tomorrow, focussing on reservoirs in the east of the city. 

There may be pockets of households with no water west of Bower Avenue and water tankers will visit that area tomorrow.  Anyone who does not have water should contact the Council on 941 8999.

There has been a sewer overflow into the Avon and into the Styx at Brooklands.  Both of these should be stopped tomorrow, but in the meantime people should avoid water in the rivers and estuary, and not swim at estuary beaches.  Signs will go up tomorrow warning of pollution.

Building evaluations

Five teams of engineers have done building evaluations around the city.  Things look all right, with only three commercial buildings causing concern.  These three will be fenced off tonight (in Colombo Street, Idris Road and the corner of Peterborough and Montreal Streets).

Civil Defence doorknocking in the east

Civil Defence  teams have been out doorknocking in the east to offer reassurance and we urge people needing support to ring the supporting and counselling help line 0800 777 846 which is open 8am to 11pm seven days a week.

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