Building owners see red at Victoria St redo
The angst of a long-suffering Victoria St building owner has turned permanent with a new traffic light box.
The Wellington City Council transformation project of the road, which began in November, has angered nearby residents and businesses with months of noise, dust and access issues.
The promise was all would be made up by the street-level makeover of paved parks and tree-lined walkways left as the works wrapped up in the next month. But a new permanent traffic signal box as part of these plans has building owners Roger and Marion Kiddle seeing red.
Roger said the signal box, about 1.5 metres tall by 1 metre wide, is now positioned far too near the outer wall of his property on the south-west corner of Ghuznee and Victoria Sts. "It's difficult to put my hand behind it."
Up until May the cabinet sat several metres away, at the edge of a garden bed. It will now mean they will no longer be able to fully repaint the property, he told the council in a complaint letter.
The box was also likely to put limitations on building redevelopment plans.
"This is basic property rights. This goes all the way back to the Magna Carta."
Although the structure was nicely painted after being installed, Roger was worried it would become an eye-sore, attracting graffiti and rubbish blown behind it by the wind. He thought the most appropriate site for the box was at the curb-side.
He was also angry the council gave him no notice of the repositioning. He had been consulted on a similar proposal to resite it in 2007, and officers had listened to his concerns about keeping his building's frontage unobscured then, he said.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said it was standard practice for infrastructure such as signal boxes and lampposts to be positioned in front of private buildings.
The council was within its rights to locate infrastructure on public land in ways that minimised the impact, he said.
"As far as we are concerned, the box is located in a logical position and it does not have any negative impact on the adjoining property.
"The alternative is that the box would be plonked out in the middle of the paved area - where it would look ridiculous and where it would also pose a potential danger to pedestrians."