New Brighton ready to bare soul for recognition

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012

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New Brighton residents are preparing to bare their bums in protest at the fate of their troubled Christchurch suburb.

Local business owner Tony Brooks has organised the cheeky protest to draw attention to the area's plight.

Brooks feels New Brighton has been neglected by Christchurch City Council, even though it was one of the suburbs hardest-hit by the quakes.

He hopes the mass mooning will make council realise the depth of feeling among New Brighton residents.

He said he hoped to attract "100 bums" to the protest on December 2 at 11am on the basketball courts by New Brighton Library.

"There are so many reasons why we would do something like this. There is the simple fact that most of us have had enough," he said.

He said he was upset that New Brighton was the last suburb to be the subject of a council regeneration master plan after Lyttelton and Sydenham.

"Aside from infrastructure work, the only thing we can boast in New Brighton is a revamped paddling pool.

"We want a commitment from council that they will focus and rebuild the area and commit some funds to it. They haven't given this area enough urgency."

Brooks, who owns the Pierside Cafe, said he didn't think the protest would harm the area's reputation.

"How much more could we ruin the reputation of New Brighton? I love the area and my livelihood is tied up with a business there, but if I'm honest, how much more could we affect its reputation?"

Council public affairs manager Lydia Aydon said she sympathised with the protesters.

"It's a tough time for everyone across the city . . . while this cheeky protest is a novel way of getting the city's attention, the protesters need to know that we do care about New Brighton and we are doing our best," she said.

"The council is working as quickly as possible to repair damaged roads and underground pipes and fix damaged community facilities in New Brighton and across the city. The council will also consider a draft New Brighton master plan in early December before asking residents for feedback on revitalisation plans for the area early next year."

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