Brighter nights ahead for Cuba Mall

18 May 2015

Wellington’s famous Bucket Fountain will soon look almost as colourful by night as it does by day thanks to a street light upgrade that will make Cuba Mall much lighter and brighter.

Artist's impression of new Cuba Mall street lights showing two people walking up the street between Farmers and the Bucket Fountain.

New LEDs will make Cuba Mall lighter and brighter

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The fountain has been removed for maintenance and while it’s gone, new poles and LED street lights are being installed that will have multiple benefits.  

The soft white light – similar to the light from a full moon – will make walking through the mall at night a much more pleasant experience.  It will be easier on the eye, and mean colours stand out and look more natural.

The new lights will save energy too, lowering electricity consumption by about 80 percent and roughly halving power costs for the area.

Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the mall will be lit to the same level as Courtenay Place, where LEDs were installed last September.  

“The new lights will be much better than the existing ones, which produce a yellowish glow, because they will illuminate the whole area, eliminating dark spots and making the area safer. There are two CCTV cameras in this area and the new lights will make monitoring these easier and footage from them clearer.

“With the improved colour clarity, it will be easier to see and recognise people, the plants will be green and the Bucket Fountain will look great.  

“The lights reduce demand on the network and the risk of outages,” he says. “And with no moving parts, they are also more resilient to wind and weather.”

Mall users can also expect more consistent Wi-Fi as telecommunications provider CityLink will be installing equipment on one of the new poles to increase coverage of cbdfree, Wellington’s free CBD-wide Wi-Fi service.

The new poles are going into existing planter boxes to free up more footpath space and most of the lights will be on a cable strung down the centre of the mall between the poles. Each pole will also have a downlight.

Residents who live above ground level should find the new lights less intrusive than the existing high-pressure sodium lights, as they are designed to throw light out and down.

Contractors Downer will be doing the upgrade on the Council's behalf.  Work is due to start on Monday 18 May and will be completed in 50m sections starting at the Dixon Street end. The upgrade will take between six and eight weeks so should be complete by mid-July.

The work will involve digging a trench down the middle of the mall to put in new ducting for power and telecommunications cables and drilling under the planter beds.

Work hours will be Monday to Friday, 7am to 5pm. It will be noisy at times but the contractors aren't planning to carry out any particularly noisy work between 12 noon and 2pm.