Iconic fireworks event under review

New Brighton businesses and residents are pleading for the iconic annual fireworks event to stay in the suburb.

The New Brighton Guy Fawkes event has come under scrutiny from the city council ­as part of a city-wide review of all council-run events.

City council head of community support, governance and partnerships John Filsell said for a number of years it has received feedback on traffic management congestion.

He said it is a health and safety issue due to New Brighton having limitations on its entry and exit points.

At the time of the event, the city council is required to only have north and south exits out of the area, with a central New Brighton exit dedicated to a bus service for 30min following the event.

“The road works in this area over the years have also added to the congestion difficulties. With a mass egress at the conclusion of the event contributing to the disruption,” Mr Filsell said.

But the city council confirmed the Guy Fawkes event will go ahead and, if there were to be any changes, they would not be implemented this year.

The Sparks, New Year’s Eve and KidsFest events run by the city council are also under review as part of the Community Events Implementation Plan process.

About 500 residents will be surveyed city-wide on city council events. It wants feedback about which events people had attended over the past two years, the locations of the events, parking and the city council’s event calender. Paper Plus New Brighton owner Blair Hughes said any event as popular as Guy Fawkes will have traffic management issues and the city council should have the expertise to manage the issues.

He said New Brighton is not like Redcliffs or Sumner where there is only one entrance, and if the correct plan is put in place there should not be an issue.

His views were backed by Bin Inn New Brighton owner Nikki Griffin, who said it should be an issue that can be resolved.

“How many years have they had the same issue and not bothered about it?” she said.

The fireworks display has been running at the pier since it was opened in 1997.

Mrs Griffin said if the event was taken away, it would be another blow for the east and show a “lack of commitment from the city council” to an area “already neglected.”

New Brighton Museum secretary Peggy Butterfield said she would be very disappointed if the fireworks event was moved away, but was supportive of it being held at Matariki.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: Should the city council continue to hold its annual fireworks event at the New Brighton pier? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi

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