If anyone wants to see how a community and a country deals with the aftermath of an earthquake, New Zealand would be a great place to start.
Qualicum Beach CAO Mark Brown did just that recently as part of an exchange program with his professional association, and he provided a detailed presentation of his travels during a recent town council meeting.
Brown spent 18 days in New Zealand and visited towns and cities throughout the country. Christchurch is still reeling from its major shake in February of 2011, with “hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the churches alone,” said Brown while he showed council pictures of the area.
Brown showed photos of a large area of downtown Christchurch still a no-go zone for anyone not working on clean-up or reconstruction, and entire subdivisions that looked much like ghost towns.
“It was like a movie set where you see a lot of empty homes and no people,” he said.
Brown also said he learned increased divorces, declining birth rates and other social issues are also a big part of the aftermath of the New Zealand quake.
“The social impact is just as great or greater,” he said.
Brown’s trip was part of a Local Government Managers’ Association exchange program and his host in New Zealand will be coming to Qualicum Beach this summer.