The community of Lyttelton is asking Christchurch City Council to buy a piece of prime real estate for a civic square.
The corner site on the main street of the port town was left empty when the two-storey building that previously occupied it had to be demolished after the earthquake of 22 February last year.
Among the many deputations to the council on Thursday was one from Lyttelton Harbour Business Association which said there was a real urgency behind the need to buy the property.
The association says there is a risk a developer will buy the site, which is on the market, and shut the community out of having a town square.
The land has already been transformed into a space for people to gather and was the site chosen for this year's earthquake memorial service.
The Returned and Services Memorial Trust has asked for the town's cenotaph to be relocated to the site if it is developed into a civic square.