Wildlife, lights on agenda

Speaking at the Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting last week were (from left) Jenny Rock,...
Speaking at the Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting last week were (from left) Jenny Rock, Sally Carson and Aaron Heimann. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
Wildlife and lights were the topic of the Otago Peninsula Community Board’s public forum.

Jenny Rock, Sally Carson and Aaron Heimann spoke to the board about a range of topics.

They updated the board on their Signs of the Sea project.

‘‘It’s about growing marine stewardship in the locals and visitors that are walking along our coastlines,’’ Dr Rock said.

Signs would be installed in a range of environments, like estuaries and different types of shorelines, which would give people prompts to observe the things around them, she said.

They could look at a change in biodiversity, sediments, water clarity or sand movement.

Ms Carson said the signs would not be Dunedin-specific, but rather a template that could be used anywhere.

‘‘We’d certainly like to use Dunedin as a case study,’’ she said.

The group received funding for the development of the project but not installation of the signs.

It had to make a submission to the Dunedin City Council’s annual plan and welcomed the board’s guidance and support on that.

Speaking in relation to the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group, Dr Rock said the group was operating from the former Happy Hens building in Portobello.

The building was a hub for many of the peninsula’s biodiversity and conservation-related groups, she said.

‘‘This hub puts some synergy among all of them.’’

The building needed to be refurbished, including lining and electrical work, to make it habitable year-round, which would be more than was budgeted for.

The group was in the process of getting consents.

The building was owned by the Dunedin City Council but it was not responsible for the inside.

Board chairman Paul Pope would write a letter to the council, on behalf of the board, requesting the resource consent fee be waived.

He would also write a letter of support if the group was to apply for other funding.

Mr Pope suggested the group make an official funding application to the board for a specific part of the project.

‘‘Other than that, I’m pleased to see you’re making progress with the building,’’ he said.

Dr Rock was also concerned about the LED lights that were installed on the peninsula and the impact they had on people and wildlife.

‘‘Some have been installed in places where there have been modifications to street lights that already shone into people’s homes,’’ she said.

‘‘There was no adjustment made when the new ones were put in.’’

The lights also affected wildlife in the area, as the light made them stay active for longer and they were becoming exhausted.

Birds were chirping for longer and krill were sensitive to the spectrum of light, she said.

She suggested some of the non-essential lights be removed, dimmed or connected to motion-sensors.

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