New Brighton Pier to close to the public for repairs, concerning local businesses
Businesses in a seaside Christchurch suburb are worried about what will happen when a local attraction closes for repairs.
The bulk of the 300-metre long New Brighton Pier will close to the public from Monday due to earthquake repairs to the supporting columns.
Work at the popular local attraction began in February. It was initially hoped the pier would remain open throughout the repairs, expected to finish March 2018.
Christchurch City Council city services general manager David Adamson said contractors had "encountered a number of issues", which would force the outer two-thirds of the pier to close.
"The amount of the equipment that will be operating on the pier means it is no longer safe or feasible to continue to keep the full length of the pier open to the public."
Salt on the Pier restaurant manager Sam Alla said the closure was "definitely a big worry for us".
He thought some visitors would skip the seaside suburb while the pier was closed.
"I have heard lots of people saying how they just came to walk on the pier."
Alla said when people booked for the restaurant, they often asked if the pier was open and would change their booking if it was not.
He understood the council had "no option" but to make the repairs though, he said.
To fix the pier, watertight tubes called caissons are placed around the pier's columns and driven into the seabed before the water is pumped out. This gives contractors a dry space to do the repair work.
"Unfortunately they have had limited success sinking the caissons using compressed air and they are now having to use jetted water to mobilise the sand," Adamson said.
To do this, contractors will need extra pumps, hoses and tanks on the pier.
Adamson said they hoped to open another 60 metres of the pier every eight weeks or so as repairs progressed.
"We know the pier is a popular place for families so the working areas will be made safe and re-opened to the public during school holidays."