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Is there a dark skies future for Waiheke?

Published: 28 July 2020

The eastern end of Waiheke could be set to become a Dark Skies Park, while the western end of the island could soon boast a Dark Skies Community, with plans to implement a Dark Skies Management Plan in the draft Waiheke Local Board Plan, which is now open for consultation.

The proposed dark sky initiative is part of Waiheke Local Board’s plan to make sure the island’s environment is protected, restored, and enhanced, says Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley.

“This initiative is about working in partnership with our community, decreasing light pollution on our island and working to achieve our environmental aspirations. It’s also an opportunity to boost our visitor economy through low impact astro-tourism.

“To achieve dark sky status, we’d need to do things like control exterior lighting in a variety of ways including installing shades, directing light downward and using timers or dimmers.

“This wouldn’t stop people using lights at night however but shows that minor adjustments can change the nightscape significantly.

“We think Waiheke as a Dark Sky Park would enhance our island in a number of ways including environmentally, culturally and artistically. We believe it’s important to protect our night skies for present and future generations.

Chair Handley says the dark skies proposal is just one of many in the local board’s draft plan.

“This plan will be the blueprint for the board’s activities for the next three years, so we need to hear from residents to make sure we’ve got it right.”

You can have your say on the Waiheke Local Board draft local board plan, including the dark skies proposal at: akhaveyoursay.co.nz/lovelocal

Feedback closes on Thursday 13 August 2020.

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Residents can now have their say on the draft Waiheke Local Board Plan and the draft Waiheke Area Plan which are both open for feedback until 13 August 2020.

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