social cleansing via social housing, London style

Grenfell Tower

Paris Banlieues

Following the collapse of their empires in the late 1940s through early 1960s, both France and Britain found that a legacy of colonisation in the Third World was lots of migrants from those countries, most often than not poorly skilled and educated and wanting a better life.  And since, in those days, there were post-war labour shortages, the former colonial masters were happy to let them in so they could do the menial jobs that their own people weren’t keen on.

Things changed in the economic turmoil of the 1970s, however, and significant levels of unemployment among the immigrants arose. In France, accommodations provided for the immigrants usually consisted of awful apartment blocks in major city outskirts, the so-called banlieues.  Needless to say, they have been areas full of crime and social unrest.

In Britain, social housing has mostly been provided by local council estate blocks, likewise cheap and nasty.

A week ago a 24-story apartment block in London, Grenfell Tower, made the international news when it spectacularly caught fire in the early hours of the morning and quickly became the biggest towering inferno since 9/11.

There are several webpages on the cause and progress of the fire; what is even more interesting are details that have emerged about the obvious desire on the part of the building’s owners, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, for gentrification of what is a relatively affluent urban area — certainly Chelsea is, Kensington a bit less so.  The highly flammable cladding that its aptly named Tenant Management Organisation (there to manage the tenants rather than the building) recently affixed to this building was apparently intended to the make the tower, completed in 1974, more attractive for other residents of the district from the outside.  The rents also in this block weren’t cheap either. The TMO didn’t concern itself with complaints that tenants had about matters like power surges, let alone the lack of fire alarms, sprinklers and evacuation drills (in fact, they had been told not to evacuate in the event of fire).

We’ve seen the Horowhenua District Council’s disdain for social housing;  their solution — sell it and maybe the resulting higher rents will force the riff-raff to go elsewhere.  And in London, not only the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, well, listen to this:


elder financial abuse — a common form of elder abuse


A little while ago we recommended a path and paving resurfacer who had done a good job for us to an 89-year-old family lady friend.  Again he did a good job, in fact it exceeded the specifications given.

But a short time later she told us that he had come around one evening wanting to know if she would lend him $6,000, which she did.  When we asked her again a bit later if he had paid it back, he hadn’t.  She refused our offer of help to get it back, and that would have been difficult anyway as there was nothing to document the nature of the transaction.  Oh dear.

We figure that such elder financial abuse must be particularly common in Waikanae with its high population of seniors and it irritates us.

While we can do practical things to stop the petty thieves, and expose unscrupulous retirement village operators, there’s not a lot outside individuals can do to stop this type of thing other than promote awareness on the part of those who are the target of it.

The government’s webpage on the subject

Reikorangi Reserve issue

reikorangi group

“They are not hillbillies, nor are they diamond encrusted, landed gentry types commonly portrayed – they are the folks who live in Reikorangi and, like everyone else in Kapiti, they want to improve their community assets and community spirit.

“At present there is a problem in this idyllic landscape and it centres around a riding arena at the Reikorangi Reserve which, for the most part is owned and operated by a group whose membership is predominately not from Kapiti.

“And this has the locals hoping their Council will put things right.

“Mayor Gurunathan met with many from the community at the weekend and it appears he was very sympathetic to the community view. Council is due to make a decision about who will be granted a lease over the land and for what period at its next meeting next week [there is a meeting scheduled for 29 June].”

from the KC News website

Waikanae items from the council Annual Plan 2017-18 confirmation last Thursday

From this council document on its website, pages 66 and 70 respectively.  No details about what and where the proposed new toilets will be, but it seems that it is intended as a replacement for the ones in the Mahara Gallery building when that building is redeveloped (in the following financial year?)

Elsewhere there is also a mention of spending $10,000 on the Waikanae Beach Community Hall, but nothing specific is mentioned.

As usual, to find these things you need to trawl through a heap of details relating to the whole district.  Why can’t the WCB put them on its Facebook page? As David Roil said last year — Communication Communication Communication!


WCB loos