It's all go on Wellywood hill

Workers survey hillside for controversial sign

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2011
TELLTALE SIGN: Technician Geoff Henson carries out preparatory work on the hillside where  the airport plans to erect its Wellywood sign.
CRAIG SIMCOX/ The Dominion Post
TELLTALE SIGN: Technician Geoff Henson carries out preparatory work on the hillside where the airport plans to erect its Wellywood sign.

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Workers sporting bright orange safety vests have appeared on the hill beside the Miramar Cutting as work to erect the controversial Wellywood sign begins.

But those opposed to the sign are not giving up, with another drive-by protest planned at the airport tomorrow.

Workers were abseiling on the hillside yesterday, as survey work to mark out positions for the 3.5-metre-high letters began.

The work comes as Wellington International Airport, which is erecting the sign to promote Wellington's film industry, remains determined to build it, despite calls for the plan to be ditched.

The airport came under fire after it said it was going ahead with the sign last week. Protests were organised, and Wellington City Council joined the debate, writing to the airport requesting that it reconsider the sign.

But the airport has ignored the protests, saying it was "standing strong" behind its plans.

Airport spokeswoman Kat Lintott said yesterday that the airport's position had not changed. She refused to comment further on the matter, saying there was nothing new to report.

The airport was still considering its response to the council's letter, she said.

Andy Boreham, who is organising tomorrow's drive-by protest around the drop-off zone, said he was disappointed the airport seemed determined to go ahead with the sign.

In last week's protest, up to 100 cars clogged traffic in and out of the airport for an hour. Mr Boreham said tomorrow's should be "bigger and stronger" and would last for two hours, starting at 6pm. A similar protest planned for last night was canned after it appeared the airport might back down, he said.

"We offered a huge amount of good faith to Wellington Airport by suspending protest action. Our friendly gesture appears to have fallen on deaf ears."

Film director Gaylene Preston will again join the protest tomorrow. She said the sign was not "innovative, cool or in any way represents what I think I've been involved in for the last 33 years".

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- The Dominion Post

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