From Ken’s desk July 2011

The challenges just keep on coming. Recently, Suzanne Hall and myself as directors of HMA, met with the other floor owners of Westpark Tower to discuss the fate of our lovely new offices. Built in 1986 (and as you can see from the photograph) it is a relatively modern building. The word at this stage is that it is coming down. I know I have been optimistic up to this point about retaining the building, but the recent double earthquake in June appears to have damaged the building beyond repair and sealed its fate. The engineers cannot guarantee the building being reinstated to a standard that will ensure ongoing safety (it appears that the cost would be more than the insurance on the building is worth). We are now in negotiation with the insurers, CERA, demolition companies, etc. to find a workable win/win for everyone. There is a chance that we could rebuild on the same site but this is subject to many questions; namely whether the council will approve any buildings nine stories high as well as the cost of additional structural design. Our other challenge last week was to rescue as much of our property (intellectual along with physical) as is feasible. So that is what we did, hired a crane (the only way in), smashed windows, cut window stays and loaded our gear through the opening onto a large platform and lowered it to the ground.

Last week I utilised a whole range of skills – truck driver, project manager, labourer, packer, demolition worker, safety co-ordinator. We can sum up our journey so far as, “We came”.

“We made it our own” through a lot of hard work and thoughtful design to make it a welcoming space for people to come and learn about the world, either through personal work or attending training sessions.

“We left through the window.” Well, rescued our gear actually, thanks to a whole bunch of helpful individuals. At least we had a fine day and the nor’west wind stayed at bay. The new apartment block building next door (white building in photograph) was built in 2002 and is also being demolished due to structural damage.

Westpark Tower was part of our vision for HMA going forward – having a space to undertake counselling, run training seminars and being able to broadcast seminars from. We had only got our foot in the door and had been starting to enjoy the freedom and opportunities that the building provided. The paint was barely dry. At this stage the vision has a slight hole in it but we have been deep in thought regarding how to maintain our service provision utilising different methodology.

We have now brought forward phase two of our development plan which is around utilising video conferencing to offer remote training, supervision and mentoring of workers in the field. We are also working steadily on a number of self-paced online modules as part of our online HMA Learn site where people will be able to complete in their own time and at their own pace. We have fast forwarded this initiative – for more information about how we might be able to assist your organisation please email me on ken.mcmaster@hma.co.nz

Published on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, under Announcements, What Ken thinks

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