The Strand in Whakatāne has been lit up with more than 21,000 new fairy lights as part of Whakatāne District Council’s aim to enhance the space, create more vibrancy and improve safety in the town center.
The ‘Light the Strand’ project replaced the existing tree lights with improved commercial grade bud/fairy lights, new electrical connections and extended the light display so it now runs from The Comm to Noel Leeming.
Strategy and Transformation General Manager Steve Perdia said engagement with Council partners highlighted the concern local businesses had with the poor state of the tree lighting in the town center area.
“The Strand is the heart of our town, and businesses and residents want it to be an attractive, vibrant, and safe space.
“Security in the CBD for both residents and business is a priority for Council and this additional lighting will contribute to visibility and safety, especially during the winter months,” Perdia said.
The project — which has been completed in time for the Trust Horizon Light Up Whakatāne Festival — sees all 45 trees which line The Strand have new commercial grade lights installed, with the design for each tree being carefully planned to achieve a denser and more attractive light display.
“When we applied for the funding grant through Trust Horizon, we had a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve.
“We know the last couple of years have been tough on our businesses so its important Council looks for strategic opportunities and invests in projects that will draw visitors and customers back to spaces impacted by the pandemic.”
“Not only do the lights enhance The Strand they also encourage outdoor dining and offer the opportunity for more mid-winter and shoulder season events and an opportunity for a night market,” Perdia said.
The project was 50 percent funded by Trust Horizon through the Community Development and Amenities fund.
Derek Caudwell Chief Executive of Trust Horizon said the Trust was pleased to be able to lend its support.
“We hope the new lighting creates a safe and attractive downtown environment for locals and visitors alike, and sees the CBD continue to thrive.”
Council is also encouraging people to get along to the ‘Trust Horizon Light Up Whakatāne’ festival happening from 19 – 28 August and watch the CBD come to life as light installations illuminate spaces from the night.
For more information on the festival visit lightupwhakatane.com