By PHILIP CHANDLER
A seven-metre-deep digital billboard proposed for the side of Queenstown’s Crowne Plaza hotel has some locals seeing red.
The 34 square metre billboard would display advertising messages aimed at pedestrians and motorists headed westwards along Shotover Street.
Running 24/7, the messages would change at least every 60 seconds, but not feature flashing images or animation.
The billboard displaces an 11sqm ‘Crowne Plaza Queenstown’ sign that’d be relocated above it.
Among opponents are three long-time locals.
Former councillor Erna Spijkerbosch says ‘‘over the years, various councils, councillors and the community have worked very hard to keep our signage bylaws fairly tight’’.
‘‘We don’t need to turn [the area] into Times Square or something — it’s the thin edge of the wedge.’’
Anne Henley calls the billboard ‘‘a monstrosity’’.
‘‘It’s dangerous, too, because people driving down there, their eyes are going to be reading it.’’
Submitter Bert Chandler, who also calls it a ‘‘monstrosity’’, says what’s not needed on ‘‘an extremely busy’’ street is ‘‘half a building face like a drive-in movie to take people’s minds off the situation they are in’’.
He notes every other business ‘‘up to this point’’ has had to obey rules on signage size.
Dean Shaw, director of the company behind the billboard, Bigavision Ltd, says ‘‘we identified it as a good spot in that it is a large building so the size of it isn’t out of context’’.
In terms of distraction, ‘‘we’ve commissioned dozens of reports to ensure we aren’t creating a distraction, and there are mitigating controls put in place that make sure we are abiding by what is industry standard, and that traffic experts deem is safe’’.
‘‘Since 2012, digital signs have been popping up all over New Zealand, and they have become commonplace to motorists.’’
Shaw says there’s also technology in the screen that senses ambient brightness and adjusts it accordingly.
‘‘In probably 95% of cases, the digital screen has less glare and is less bright than a static sign with floodlights on it.’’
His company also offers space for non-profits, he says.
‘‘I would disagree it’s a monstrosity, in fact in most of these cities and towns where we build these, they’re actually beneficial.
‘‘They are generally used to promote a lot of events — if anything, it should help the economy.’’
Submissions to Queenstown’s council close April 1.