Seeds of discontent about botanical business

May 19, 2017

Seeds of discontent about botanical business

Rural South Auckland residents are not glowing with praise about their nursery neighbour’s lights. Photo: Supplied / Tristan Illich

A new commercial property is casting a bad light on rural South Auckland, according to locals.

Horticulture company Zealandia’s nursery on Tourist Rd in Clevedon uses artificial grow lights to help plants develop, but neighbouring residents are up in arms.

The equipment emits a bright glow to replace the natural light the plants lack during the winter months.

Locals say the nursery is disrupting their lives.

Veronica Holt-Pederson who has lived nearby for 22 years said it was frustrating the nursery had been built in Clevedon. Construction started in 2014.

“We were surprised the place was even allowed to go in, we knew nothing about it until it went in there.”

Mrs Holt-Pederson said there could be worse to come.

“We understand that there’s still a lot more land they can use, and a lot more greenhouses can go in.”

Clevedon resident Renée Quarrie isn’t a fan, and questioned why the community wasn’t made aware.

“I hate the light pollution, why weren’t we consulted about the implications of building that there? I think it really spoils the feel of Clevedon.”

Charmayne Johnstone whose property overlooks the Zealandia nursery said it’s not just the lights that are a problem.

“The beeping all day from very early is annoying, as are the helicopters when they are spraying.”

Zealandia director Graham Windross said the lighting was necessary in winter months for plants to grow.

“If you get a cloudy or overcast day you have to actually replace the light you’re not getting from the sun with artificial light.”

Mr Windross said he didn’t think the lights should be a problem.

“Are the public unhappy in the summer time when it’s light from 5.30am until 9pm?”

Mr Windross said the business would flick on the switch at 6am some days until it gets light enough, and then turn them on again later in the day until 8pm.

In the Netherlands, there are instances where lights run all night, and that would be a cause for concern if Zealandia was doing the same, said Mr Windross.

Auckland Council compliance and resource consent manager Steve Pearce said in a statement that Zealandia was operating within the law.

“As long as the lighting complies with the resource consent conditions and unitary plan rules, the activity is allowed.”

Light pollution is a concern for the council, as mentioned in the Auckland Unitary Plan, but no complaints had been lodged regarding Zealandia, he added.

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