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From the Mayor

March 19, 2018 March 2018, Regular Features No Comments

Martinborough is now on the international Dark Sky map with the recognition of the International
Dark Sky Association (IDA) that Martinborough is New Zealand’s first town to adopt a 3000K standard for street lighting. It is also the first and big step in attaining International Dark Sky Reserve Gold status. Dark Sky Reserves are all over the world and are highly regarded by residents and tourists especially from those countries who can hardly see the sun yet alone the stars.

We are in a very fortunate position that we have little light pollution, we have vast expanses of really dark sky and really bright stars. People are prepared to travel half way across the world to come and enjoy and wonder at what we take for granted every night.

Martinborough Dark Sky Association has done an amazing job and in an extremely short time to secure the 3000K lighting standard. For me it has been a whirlwind couple of months trying to put people together to ensure that this result was achieved.

So what will this mean to Martinborough, South Wairarapa and Wairarapa other than ensuring we keep light pollution to a minimum? Dark Sky tourism is growing, people are choosing to live in areas where light pollution is minimised so this will impact on Martinborough with increased visitor numbers and residents.

There is more to this Dark Sky Reserve than tourism, there is a potential for development of education partnerships and facilities. Maori have a long history using astronomy and there is potential for the development of a Maori Astronomy Centre.

These new ventures will need planning considerations, not only from the building of facilities but also where they will be located, have we enough accommodation for increased tourism, have we the capacity to transport people to view the Dark Sky and have we the people to provide the services that go with development.

Council will be adopting its Long Term Plan (LTP) in mid-March.  One of the key consultation topics is the development of a district wide Spatial Plan that will address these planning questions and also gives a direction of where and how we want the district to develop.

The Dark Sky Reserve is a very exciting project; if it becomes a real tourist attraction like Tekapo, we need to ensure we have had the discussion around how we can manage any growth.

Please read the LTP Consultation Document and give your feedback either online or on the feedback form attached to the document by 20 April 2018.

Viv Napier

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