12 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday May 11 2017 News The Star Home away from home for cancer families one step closer • By Gabrielle Stuart THOUSANDS OF families battling cancer will be given a home away from home through the work of a local trust. The Christchurch Bone Marrow Cancer Trust has revealed plans to build a 43-unit apartment block on Selwyn St, more than doubling the number of families it can host. The new building is expected to cost about $10 million, and a public fundraising campaign is set to be launched next month to help pay for it. Ranui House was opened by the trust in 1993 as a place where people could stay close to hospital while family members were receiving treatment. A fundraising campaign raised $2.5 million to build the first nine-unit house on Cambridge Tce, and a second, 18-unit building was opened beside it in 2008. The new property, which is on the corner of Selwyn St and Waller Tce, has been owned by the trust since 2010, but it has been working to raise funds and get resource consent for the building. It was given this year. Bone Marrow Cancer Trust chief executive Allison Nicol said she would not comment on the plans until closer to the campaign launch, when they were finalised. But in a newsletter, she said it would require a lot of fundraising, and would be “a challenging but exciting time.” Charged up over vehicles Disaster response group planned • By Caitlin Miles A DISASTER response group is being set up in Redcliffs to offer help and support during natural disasters. The Redcliffs Residents’ Association is in the process of establishing the Redcliffs Response and Resilience Team to get the community involved in the local emergency planning and preparedness in the case of a natural disaster. The group has been established as a result of the poorly planned tsunami response following the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake. It is currently in the very early stages of planning. The group has identified an urgent need for tsunami evacuation planning with a focus on community education. Redcliffs Residents Association secretary Pat McIntosh said creating the group and a plan was important for the area. “Of course the recent tsunami and evacuation is fresh in everyone’s minds and this area is vulnerable so there is a pressing need to improve the plans for such an event and ensure that the whole community understands what to do in the event of another warning and need to evacuate the coastal area,” Dr McIntosh said. • By Gabrielle Stuart ELECTRIC BUSES, electric rubbish trucks, electric car fleets – they are being touted as the latest technology and the way of the future. But in Christchurch, they may actually be ‘back to the future’. Electric vehicles were common in Christchurch back in the 1920s, with about 200 operating in the city at its peak, according to a 1976 Star article. Last month, the Christchurch EV Group claimed to have broken a New Zealand record when they gathered 103 electric cars together at Canterbury University. But a higher record may have been set in the city almost 100 years ago. Most of the electric vehicles in the 1920s were charged together overnight at the city council Municipal Electricity Department garage on Manchester St. In 1921 it was recorded that 51 electric vehicles were being charged there overnight, 40 privately owned and 11 owned by the city council – but there is no record of whether that number grew as more electric trucks were imported. Christchurch EV Group organiser Mark Nixon said he would be more than happy to hand over the title if records were found of a larger gathering in Christchurch’s past. “I’d love it. It’s all in the name of fun, and if we had to say we broke the 21 st -century record instead we’d still be happy with that,” he said. Orion systems engineer Neville Digby dug into the history of Christchurch’s electric vehicles while working as part of a team restoring a 1919 Walker electric truck. The trucks were marketed as a more efficient alternative to horse-drawn carts, and were popular for deliveries. Mr Digby said it was very difficult to find records of the electric vehicles, and most of them had been stripped down for scrap metal around World War 2. The Orion truck was saved as had been converted into a mobile lunchroom, and then into a caravan for workers to stay in. Now restored, it is one of only three still operating in the world, and sits in the foyer at the Orion headquarters in Burnside. RESTORED: Orion systems engineer Neville Digby restored this 1919 Walker electric truck, one of about 200 electric vehicles used in Christchurch in the 1920s. (Top) – Some of Christchurch’s electric vehicles near the Carlton Mill bridge in 1921. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER He said the truck would have had a top speed of 22km/h, and a range of 60km before needing a charge. It has travelled more than 320,000km, and is still clocking up kilometres as it has a current registration and warrant of fitness. Mr Digby said early electric vehicles were ahead of the times, even when it came to the way they were charged. Some of the electricity to charge them came from an incinerator burning the city’s rubbish and converting that energy to power. 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The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday May 11 2017 13