First weekend expected to be telling for New Brighton pier closure impact video

IAIN MCGREGOR/Stuff

Sam Loader surfs a hydrofoil in Sumner, Christchurch.

New Brighton businesses have survived their first week with a closed pier, but the impact closing the attraction will have on the community is likely to become clearer over the weekend. 

The seaward two-thirds of the 300-metre long pier closed to the public last Monday to make way for equipment needed for ongoing earthquake repairs to the pillars. 

Christchurch City Council city services general manager David Adamson said contractors had "encountered a number of issues", which had forced the outer part of the pier to close.

Pacific Paddle Board owner Sam Loader foils his Stand Up Paddle board near the scaffolding being used for the New ...
IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFF

Pacific Paddle Board owner Sam Loader foils his Stand Up Paddle board near the scaffolding being used for the New Brighton Pier repairs.

"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."

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New Brighton Business and Landowners Association manager Paul Lonsdale said he thought the weekend would be telling as that was when people mostly visited. 

Contractors have endured some complications making repairs to the New Brighton Pier, forcing it to close to the public ...
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Contractors have endured some complications making repairs to the New Brighton Pier, forcing it to close to the public last Monday.

Though more of the pier will reopen as work progresses, access to the full length is not expected until the repairs are completed in March.

"It's longer than anyone would hope and that length of time will have an impact, there's no question about that," Lonsdale said.

"I think they [businesses] are a little bit disappointed but obviously we're wanting the pier fixed.

Caissons, which are watertight tubes, are placed around the pier's columns and driven into the seabed to give ...
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Caissons, which are watertight tubes, are placed around the pier's columns and driven into the seabed to give contractors a dry place to complete the repairs.

"We just hope the powers that be are putting pressure on the contractors to make sure they perform and get delivery done in a timely fashion."

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He said the impact of the pier closing would be offset by the opening of the new seaside playground, which was planned to be finished before Christmas. 

Pierside cafe manager Dan Prendeville said the weather was having more of an effect on their business than the closed pier at this stage, but it would be a long-term issue. 

 

New Brighton had been neglected since the earthquakes, he said.

"Our locals are our locals, and they still keep coming. The pier itself probably attracts a few people over to this side of town, but we probably need a bit more than that."

New Brighton Project events coordinator Martha Baxendell said though there might be a small negative effect, the repairs would be positive in the long run. 

The Christchurch City Council hopes to open another 60 metres of pier every eight weeks or so as repairs progress.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

The Christchurch City Council hopes to open another 60 metres of pier every eight weeks or so as repairs progress.

"I know that the pier gets a lot of visitors and I know it's probably going to have an effect on foot traffic, but I think the positive thing is that they're fixing it."

She said the beach would not be closed. 

Not everyone found the pier repairs to be cause for concern.

Pacific Paddle Board owner Sam Loader said it did not have an impact on those there to catch a few waves

"If there's waves, there's waves. Everybody will go out."

He said the scaffolding and equipment gave the pier a cool industrial look.

"It's cool seeing a digger out there on the pier, when you're on a foil. You don't see that often."

 - Stuff

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