Today we were allowed back into our building at 151 Kilmore Street to collect essential files and items. Our building is in the middle of the “Red Zone” in the CBD and was much less damaged than many of those around it. Our visit was a controlled access visit for up to three hours, requiring our small team to be cleared by the army at the cordon entry and then to wear hard hats and flouro vests at all times while within the cordon. Tash, our exec officer, did a wonderful job of organising before-hand, creating a list of priority items to be located and brought down to the waiting trailer.
Again, the whole thing reinforced for me the value of team-work and working to an agreed plan.The whole exercise went very smoothly, although the numerous trips up and down the seven flights of stairs to our top-floor office severely tested my fitness levels 🙂
The scene inside our office wasn’t as chaotic as some might have expected – things had certainly been thrown around a bit – but most items were easy enough to locate and transport downstairs in packs on our backs and/or boxes we carried. Financial and admin files were a top priority, followed by any of the IT gear that we could manage.
The scene outside our office wasn’t so wonderful – opposite there was a gap where the PGC building once stood, and the remains of what was a car-parking building now just rubble on the ground. Along a bit, the Repertory Theatre, damaged in the September 4 quake is now almost certainly not going to survive. The liquefaction has been removed from the car-park behind our building, leaving a very ‘lumpy’ surface covered in water from leaky pipes underground, and some large cracks which make it difficult to navigate around. A large crack has also opened up at the front entrance of the building – demonstrating the power of the earth’s movement during the Feb 22 quake.
At least now we can have a bit of business continuity with the things we’ve retrieved. It may be months (if ever?) before we are allowed back to empty the office of all the furniture and other items that remain there. But at least we’re more fortunate than some.