© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

New Brighton residents call to bring back the suburb's commercial core

Asha Abdi
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New Brighton playground  Vicki Wilkinson-Baker

New Brighton ratepayers want action around the state of their mall and its 30 years of neglect

Residents and retailers of the eastern suburb have made several desperate calls to the Christchurch City Council asking for help to bring back the suburb's commercial core.  

Facebook post by the New Brighton Residents Association claimed businesses were losing “hundreds of thousands” of potential dollars per year to Woolston, Linwood, Shirley, and even Parklands because residents weren’t inclined to shop locally.

A spokesperson for the New Brighton Residents Association, Brian Donovan, said the council needed to prioritise the mall regeneration by directly funding local groups of skilled individuals and investors who live in, and have a link to, the area. 

"The playground and hot pools will attract more people who will see the state of the mall and reinforce the negative view of New Brighton to outsiders."

Donovan said without a functioning modern mall, there would be no reason for visitors to cross the road.

The residents association has called for the dissolution of Development Christchurch Limited or at least the removal of the New Brighton Mall from its core mission. 

DCL was created to contribute to the regeneration of Christchurch and works as an independent advisor to the council. 

Coastal-Burwood Community Board member, Kelly Barber, said although he could understand New Brighton residents had been waiting a long time to see a change in the area, they could be waiting longer without DCL's involvement. 

"It may look like there is still plenty to do across the road in the mall but...transformations involving multiple commercial interests are frequently negotiated over a long period of time.

"Having an entity like DCL working to help facilitate and bring parties and interests together is sometimes just what is required to make the difference, Barber said.


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New Brighton hot pools near completion Vicki Wilkinson-Baker

 DCL's Chief Executive Rob Hall said the playground and hot pools were designed to act as a catalyst to attract wider investment and involvement in the area.

"We know that local businesses and the community want to see results, and we’re working hard to help make this happen. This work is complex and involves many different stakeholders," said Hall.

Right now, there are many empty buildings in New Brighton Mall. Hall said DCL was looking at ways to make the area work better as a retail and hospitality destination again.