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In your face: Carolyn Hill with her 'offending' light pole. Picture: Jodi Walters

By PHILIP CHANDLER

A Queenstown apartment owner’s ‘‘horrified’’ a new downtown light pole’s blocking her view, and fears the light spill will be even worse.

Council’s so far erected five gold-coloured poles in Lower Beach Street, as part of the CBD upgrade, that are even higher than the roof of the neighbouring Steamer Wharf complex.

Till last week, unit owner Carolyn Hill says she had no idea a pole would pop up metres from her balcony, despite having attended all the consultation meetings.

In two renders she saw, she says the three poles shown weren’t taller than the trees, whereas they are now.

‘‘We spend a lot of time round the countryside and in suburbs taking down powerlines and power poles that are obstructing the magnificent views, and then in the lovely Queenstown lakefront environment we put them up.’’

She can’t understand why the council’s not using the same type of lower pole employed in nearby Marine Parade, which she says is the same kind of shared-space area — for cars and pedestrians — her precinct’s going to be.

As for the new poles’ golden hue, ‘‘I think the colour is awful,’’ Hill says.

‘‘It makes them stand out like dogs’ bollocks, really.

‘‘I understand it was because they were trying to be reflective of the gold in Queenstown, but in actual fact if they were green or black they would sort of blend into the background instead of obscuring it.’’

She’s also fairly sure the light bulb, once it goes in, will spill light into her unit, and also possibly reflect off her glass balcony.

Hill suggests council should at least unscrew the light and flag protrusions and lower them.

However, she’s just as concerned for the town’s sake, she says.

‘‘I want our town to be vibrant, with people enjoying the spaces, and I think this is so out of character, and not sympathetic to our environment.’’

‘Legally compliant’

Council’s property & infrastructure boss Pete Hansby maintains the height of the new poles legally complies with national standards for shared spaces — and ‘‘shorter poles would have resulted in more poles’’.

He also claims local businesses and residents were shown their placement, scale, colour and finish in two artistic renderings, though he admits because the second one showed
the proposed tree planting, not every pole was visible.

‘‘Construction plans for the area in front of [Hill’s] apartment block were emailed to her directly in September last year.’’

Asked about potential light wash in her unit, he says the ‘‘optical technology’’ in the fittings limits light spill.

Hansby says gold’s a colour being used to reflect the district’s goldmining heritage and the poles won’t attract sun glare.

With Marine Pde, he says street lighting was unchanged when the shared space was created.

scoop@scene.co.nz