16 Apr 2014

Company aims to save New Brighton

9:33 am on 16 April 2014

As shops rapidly close their doors in Christchurch's New Brighton, concerned business owners have launched a company to rejuvenate the seaside suburb.

Strategic Urban Rejuvenation Force (Surf) was launched on Tuesday night and plans to use local, national and international funding to get the earthquake-damaged area back on its feet.

The company is made up of local business and land owners, architects and other professionals who are passionate about brightening up the suburb.

Founder Tony Brooks says Surf is a private company that will firstly raise money, then build businesses for the community to profit from.

He says within the next fortnight, fundraising campaigns will begin and projects including a market will be under way within 12 months.

Eight key projects include installing security cameras and setting up temporary retail space. New Brighton has lost about 50 percent of the retail space it had four years ago and residents say it feels like businesses are leaving on a weekly basis.

David McCracken, who has been in business in New Brighton for about 15 years, says he has considered closing his sports shop because it is such a struggle.

"Out of 60-odd retailers here there might be maybe ten that are going ok and the rest are all just making ends meet, not making any money at all," he says.

The city council is also in early discussions about funding a legacy project for the suburb, but what that will be, and the cost, is yet to be decided.