Timaru wants LED streetlights – but not at expense of underground cables

Timaru’s inhabitants want the council to invest in energy-efficient LED streetlights – but not if they’re paid for by money taken from savings that were supposed to go towards moving cables underground.

That appears to be the current verdict of two, separate votes run by Stuff.co.nz alongside news that the Timaru District Council passed a recommendation to invest in LED streetlights and pay for them with money previously intended for underground power lines.

Screen grab of a poll result on Stuff.co.nz, asking readers whether Timaru City Council should invest in LED streetlights. The vote is still open.

Fifty-seven per cent of readers voting on whether the council should replace its old streetlights with new, energy-efficient LED versions said that it should, even if they are expensive, as the cost will be worth it in the long run.

But in a separate vote on whether the $250,000 budget earmarked for putting cables underground should be spent on LED streetlights, nearly 54 per cent say they would rather have power lines go underground than have their streetlights upgraded to LED.

Although the votes are hardly scientific, they suggest that opposition to LED lighting isn’t necessarily about price, but could depend on what else people feel they could have had for the money.

As above, a screen shot of a poll result showing readers' preference for investment in underground cables over LED streetlights. The vote is still open.

In a District Services Committee meeting last month, Councillor Richard Lyon said diverting the funding would ‘take some of the dreams away from some of our ratepayers’ to live in ‘an uncluttered society’, the Timaru Herald reports. The Committee suggested that LED lamps could also be financed with money earmarked for lamp posts.

Timaru District Council is currently reviewing its 2015-25 long-term plan this year, which includes the budget for outdoor lighting. 

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