Shock closure upsets South Brighton residents

Earthquake damage shuts South Brighton shops

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 16:02 09/11/2012
south brighton std
Kirk Hargreaves

CLOSED: The shopping centre at the Bridge St and Estuary Rd intersection will close.

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Residents and shopowners are upset at the sudden closure of a block of South New Brighton shops.

The businesses were told yesterday they had to shut by 5pm because the building had been yellow-stickered.

The building's back wall has sustained earthquake damage and the entire block was unsafe.

A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spokeswoman said the building's structure was compromised.

''Visually, the building appeared to be OK. However, upon further detailed investigation by the owner's engineers, the structural integrity of the building was found to be badly compromised,'' she said. 

"With a building in such a condition, there is no choice but to put public safety first. The owner must now decide the building's future.'' 

South Brighton Dairy owner Sam Yang said he had no other options.

''We don't know the future. If we shut down, we lose everything.''

He would try to return the store's stock while asking friends to help him store what he could not return.

He had been unable to get insurance cover for his business since last year, when his insurance company refused to renew his policy.

''It's hard to find another place to start a new business,'' he said.

''They should have given us more time to get rid of the stock. This is not like a house. This is a business.''

Pharmacist Ian Leighton said he was ''not happy'' about having to move out of his shop, where he had been doing business for 20 years.

The closure was not a huge surprise.

''I sort of have had an inkling of it,'' he said.

He was moving his dispensary into the doctor's clinic on the other side of the road.

Elleke Hughes, who has lived in South New Brighton for four years, said she found out about the closures only this morning.

''I come here very often. I just live down the road. It's quite gutting really,'' she said.

''It's nice having things very close by and I try to do everything local. I don't know how long it will be before they come back, if they come back.''

Joan Stevenson, 69, who has lived in South New Brighton for seven years, said the shop closures came as a shock.

''We support the dairy and the coffee shop and the chemist. It's pretty hard because we haven't got a car,'' she said.

Rachel Butt, who has lived in the area for 18 months, said she was a "gutted" about losing the fish and chip shop.

''There's nothing else down here. There's nothing down in Southshore any more either,'' she said.

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