Kaiapoi is considering changes after the Canterbury earthquake devastated the small town's central business district.
The Waimakariri District Council is holding a series of workshops with business owners to develop a plan for the town centre following the 7.1 magnitude quake on 4 September.
Council chief executive Jim Palmer says many historic shops and offices will need to torn down, which will leave a blank canvas for redevelopment.
Mr Palmer says it is important that residents tell the council what they want to see built in their place.
Before the quake, the council had been developing a 25-year plan for the town and says that can now be accelerated.
About half the town's businesses are affected by the quake, he says.
At the workshop on Monday night business owners told the council they want to redesign the town centre so that the Kaiapoi River becomes the major feature of the area.