1 Jun 2011

Airport bows to pressure over Wellywood sign

9:07 pm on 1 June 2011

Wellington Airport is bowing to public pressure over its planned Hollywood-style sign, saying it will consult with the community.

In May, the airport company said the 8-metre-high by 30-metre-wide Wellywood sign would be erected on the hills above Miramar Peninsula.

The decision has drawn widespread criticism - particularly on social networking sites, where people have described it as lame and embarrassing.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald said on Wednesday the company has decided to put different options through a community selection process, but Wellywood will still be an option.

Mr Fitzgerald said the company is inviting people with views about different sign options to form a panel. The airport would act as facilitator, but would not vote on alternatives in a process expected to take months.

Mr Fitzgerald said the Wellywood sign was intended to put the capital "firmly on the map" as a film tourism destination and was selected in a process 15 months ago, but clearly has opposition.

At a meeting held last week, Wellington City Councillors voted 10 to 4 in favour of asking the airport to reconsider its plans, while a councillor called for a High Court review, saying the council did not notify the public before approving resource consent.

Mr Fitzgerald said at the time there was nothing wrong with the consent process and believed a judicial review would be a waste of time and money.

Meanwhile, the trademark holder of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles has threatened legal action if the sign is erected.