Keep Discovering

The Press-News column Aug 6

Ticking timebomb for Homeowners.

How are your sewer pipes?  What about your stormwater? Some reader correspondence has prompted me to enquire as to what Canterbury homeowners should do, if their pipes are not the PVC variety. If you live in an older home with clay or ceramic pipes leading out to the road, have they been checked for cracking? As many residents will know, cracked pipes will eventually lead to a jungle of roots, of Babylonian proportions, jamming your broken pipes, leading to a costly and messy repair.  But it maybe quite some years before the problem manifests itself. So how do you ensure you haven’t got a ticking timebomb lurking under your driveway? The Earthquake Commission confirms that they will not pro-actively investigate the status of people’s pipes. So, the onus is on the homeowner to do the detective work. But this is where it gets messy. I called several plumbers to enquire how easy is it to confirm whether a home’s in ground clay pipes have been cracked by the earthquake. Two firms told me a video inspection would be sufficient. Two other firms were adamant that video inspections had a high margin of error, and a visual inspection was the better, albeit costlier, bet.So, who is right? Either way, in the event cracked pipes are detected via either inspection method, you must be able to satisfy the EQC that the cracking was quake-related, to ensure they reimburse you for the inspection, and carry out the repairs.


The 2013 Ellerslie International Flower Show, feverishly flogged by the critics, have been vindicated by the official public feedback, which reveals the majority of attendees were underwhelmed by this year’s edition.  You may recall back in March, I mentioned in this column that the Christchurch Mayor was seemingly living in a parallel universe, crowing on Facebook that this year’s show  was “the best yet. “ Within 24 hours, Planet Parker struck back, expunging me from his Facebook “friends” list. I believe in the flower show’s signature importance to Christchurch’s marketing brand. But Ellerslie needs to get back to its roots, re-fertilised with exhibition X-factor. Remember Chris Beardshaw’s An Englishman’s Retreat? Seeking Shangri-La?  The Last Australian Garden?  Botanical show-stoppers, and plenty of them, make for great garden shows – not vacuum cleaners for sale.

Bright Star.

How sweet it is to see one of the leading lights of Christchurch’s hospitality scene return to its flagship site in Manchester St. The Lone Star, a legendary family favourite, and incredibly successful franchise, celebrates the reopening of its original Manchester St site, tonight.  The new Mothership has been superbly constructed in a lovely fusion of stone and timber, proving that contemporary buildings can be characterful. Welcome home, Lone Star.

( Mike’s weekly current affairs column, as published in The Press.)

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