Protecting our night skies

Pictured: The night sky lit up with the Southern Aurora in May 2017. This spectacular shot was taken from Bremner Bay. Photo: Karina Sharpe

As a community we all love to see the phenomenon of the Southern Lights in our night skies. Recently Hawea resident Cherilyn Walthew received a request from a neighbour about the potential of reducing the brightness of one of her security lights as it impacted their ability to see the night sky’s brightness.

“The main issue with our light is the brightness of the LED lamps. We've put a tinted cover over the bulbs and longer term are looking at installing a larger shade over the light in line with guidelines obtained from the MacKenzie District Council.

“I absolutely get this issue as there’s another security light that has really started bugging me down at the new Sentinel Park subdivision which is like a huge beacon in the dark,” Cherilyn said.

She was trying to find out if there were any rules in our district, so the Wanaka Sun contacted the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) to find out.

A QLDC spokesperson advised, “QLDC has the Southern Light Strategy. This was adopted in 2017 and provides the strategies around dark skies as well as technical specifications for lighting.”

The strategy is to protect the night sky and aesthetic appeal of the district and details specifications for street lighting (both residential and rural), festivals and events. In the strategy, it says, “QLDC recognises the need to enhance the experience of these events through the use of lighting whilst protecting the night skies.”

The strategy and specifications for outside lighting can be found on the council’s website.

The Southern Light Strategy has been programmed in the QLDC Bylaws, Policies and Strategies Register for review in 2021.

Pictured: The night sky lit up with the Southern Aurora in May 2017. This spectacular shot was taken from Bremner Bay. Photo: Karina Sharpe


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