New Brighton residents want regeneration

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2012

HEY-DAY: Once the jewel of Christchurch retailing with its monopoly on Saturday shopping; post-quake New Brighton hangs on in hope of good times to come again.

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A master plan to regenerate the New Brighton Mall should include saltwater pools, more shelter from the chilly easterly wind and better pedestrian links to walkways, residents say.

Christchurch City Council staff are working on a plan for the earthquake-hit seaside suburb. It will be considered by councillors next month.

More than a dozen shops have been demolished or shuttered in the mall since the Canterbury quakes, but local people are keen to regenerate the area.

City planning unit manager Brigitte de Ronde said residents had raised many points during public meetings on the master plan.

"They have raised the need for better and more walkways, the desire for more events and things that will bring people to the centre, safety and security concerns, and a one-off creative idea like saltwater pools or an aquarium. There are a lot of different ideas," she said.

She said the challenges included a loss of local people due to the nearby Bexley residential red zone.

"Dealing with the easterly wind that blows through that whole area is also a challenge. The way you set things out and what kind of aspect they have in relation to the wind will be looked at. How can pedestrians move through the centre more easily and, hopefully, without as much buffeting by the wind?"

Rebecca May, of Renew Brighton, said the plan should take advantage of newly empty sites in the mall. "Spaces have opened up that allow us to reassess how people use the mall. The gaps in the mall connect the slow road to the bus stop now. It is a new space," she said.

"It is a great opportunity with the master plan to look at these broken buildings and do something incredible."

New Brighton resident Sue Davidson, who organised the Mural Madness arts initiative at the weekend, said people should live above shops in the mall.

"You need people living in the mall so you get a 24/7 occupancy."

The master plan will be considered by the local community board on December 3 and full council on December 6. Public consultation will run to the end of February if it is approved by local politicians.

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