Plea for rethink on street lights

Richard Saunders
Richard Saunders
The Dunedin City Council has again been urged to reconsider its plans for new LED street lights in the city, or risk being ''locked in'' to the wrong choice for years to come.

However, the council's transport group manager, Richard Saunders, is remaining steadfast the council is on the right track.

The council has been trialling new 3000-Kelvin lights in several South Dunedin streets since last year, as part of a plan to replace the city's 15,000 ageing and failing high-pressure sodium streetlights.

The project was expected to cost about $12million, up to 85% of which would be covered by the NZ Transport Agency.

Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of the 3000K lights on human health, wildlife and the night sky, and calls from some submitters for warmer, 2400K lights instead.

The council was yet to announce which company would install the lights, or exactly what - if anything - would change.

But, at yesterday's DCC public forum, Dunedin Dark Skies spokeswoman Kyra Xavia, renewed her group's call for a rethink.

Ms Xavia, who is also New Zealand's representative on the International Dark-Sky Association, told councillors the 3000K lights being trialled in South Dunedin were not ''fit for purpose'', and the rest of the city was now set to get the same.

The NZTA should ensure 2700K lights were the maximum allowed along state highways, and even lower Kelvin, warmer lights elsewhere in the city, she said.

If the city made the wrong call, by rolling out 3000K lights, it would be ''locked in'' for years to come, she warned.

''They are not the lights that Dunedin deserves,'' she said.

Cr David Benson-Pope, chairman of the council's planning and environment committee, responded by asking for staff to report back on the issues raised, which council chief executive Sue Bidrose said would follow.

However, Mr Saunders told the Otago Daily Times later yesterday the issues had already been well canvassed.

An announcement on the contractor to do the work was expected within ''a couple of weeks'', and there was no chance of a last-minute change to the types of lights being planned, he said.

''We're happy we've canvassed all those options as part of our business case, in taking previous reports to council.

''We still think we've come up with a really good balance between those aspirations and the traffic safety, and having a light that's fit for purpose on the network.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

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Get with it Richard Saunders - the place is going to feel like a freezing works if you stubbornly have your way.

Dornock- what an apt description 'a freezing works', when what we want are warm lights for our heritage buildings our health and safety. Since when did the staff dictate what is best of us ratepayers- we don't vote for them.

Person from Porlock.

The LED lighting x2 have failed in our notoriously trialled street.

Sodium lights create a soft light and there are no dark pools without light between them. Easy on eyes to adjust. These LED are a hard light, create pools of darkness out of them which means harder on the eyes to adjust. A safety issue for drivers and pedestrians alike.

I haven't seen them but the possibility of having bright, white lighting across the city sounds horrible. I would not vote for that.

Dark Skies NZ simply want no street lights so they can sit on their porches and gaze at the stars. Bad luck. Anyone can move to the country if they want to live in the dark.
Street lighting is supposed to provide illumination that enables people on foot and in vehicles to move around safely.
Any new lighting should be at least as bright if not brighter than the old stuff. Anything less will just create a safety issue for all.

You unfairly misrepresent them. I don't belong to that group, but having read some of what they've had to say they have useful and more informed ideas than yours about what could be implemented. It's also about more than simply the level of brightness.

This appears standard for the DCC Management, all keen, full steam ahead yet no clues, and that arrogant they will not change when put right. All this should have been considered in the research to see what the NZ Standard was before a decision was made, another fail in Dunedin. I wonder if all main roads heading into a town or city will still have the different coloured lamps? I feel sorry for Dunedin with these people managing the building big in Dunedin soon.

Just get on with it DCC. If all that is going to happen is to rehash work that has already been done then just get on with it. So not everyone is happy, too bad, welcome to the real world.

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