I have met with the Council three times this week. Each time I’ve been told that all they need is this or that piece of information and I will have my consent. Each time I have provided the information asked only to have another hurdle placed in my way. Somebody is either stupid, gutless or malicious.
My building consent officer has now gone on holiday, handing my case over to some poor guy who now has to deal with a custometr that’s angry like a snake. Just to ensure it stays hard, it seems nobody thought handing my case over properly was necessary. That is unprofessional. Now I am re-sending all the information to a new officer, asking the same questions that I was told had been resolved.
Again I state that the good people in the Council are very good – some have come to me and expressed disgust at the way I have been treated, but the fact of the matter is that if something doesn’t change soon this town is looking at a dead Central City for the next 50 years. If you let engineers design things in the current risk averse climate, you will have a city whose character is no different from Riccarton Mall.
So I scrap on, day in day out, all day long sending off stupid information so some dropkick can tick boxes. But I can’t help but wonder what it is like for people that don’t have the old Irish mad-dog fighter in them.
Here’s one of my favourite conversations of late:
Me: “You need to understand, it’s just a bus and a couple of portable buildings.”
Council employee: “It’s not a bus, it’s a building.”
“Trust me, it’s a bus. It has a warrant and registration.”
“That might be the case, but it’s a building.”
“No, it’s definitely a bus.”
“It doesn’t matter what you think. To us it’s a building.”
“Do you want me to come and pick you up in the building. We can drive around town in the building and see if we can’t resolve this.”
“Don’t be smart with me…”
Half way through our conversation I realised I was getting some use from my useless university education. As far as I can tell this arguement could be framed using Aristotle’s ideas of Matter and Form. What is it about a bus that gives it it’s “busness”? Does a bus become a building if it plays the role of a building? If you sit on a table does it become a chair?
I thought “this is interesting, it could be a fun debate”, but I suspect someone who went from a boring degree to a boring job might not have had the inclination to study Greek philosophy. So I told him people like him were killing the city and hung up.
Tune in next week when I become Michael Laws and the Christchurch City Council actually eats itself.