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How many twists to change a light bulb?

NEW LIGHT: An impression of the architecturally designed bulbs that could be installed to achieve a similar look to the original lights. Picture: Newcastle Council
Nanjing Night Net

NEWCASTLE COUNCIL staff have baulked at orders to look at returningdome-shaped lightingto the Cowper Street Bridge, warning councillors it would be a costly exercise for lights that arelikely to “self destruct”.

Residents of Carrington lauded it as a victory last month, when councillors ordered a review of a staff decisionto replace the original dome-shaped lamps with“soulless”energy efficient LED lights.

The review was to examinereplacements that wouldrespect“the heritage values” of the entryway to the suburb.

But with that review now finalised– and set to go before councillors at Wednesday’s meeting–council staff are still insisting the lighting installed in January be kept.

Sphere-shaped lights were no longer widely available,the review said,and a bulb suggested by residentswas“not fit for purpose”.

How many twists to change a light bulb? The “much admired” dome lights that once lined Cowper Street Bridge.

The new LED lights that have caused outcry since they were installed in January.

NEW LIGHT: An example of an energy efficient, architecturally designed bulb that could be installed. Staff say they would achieve a similar look to the original dome lights. Picture: Newcastle Council

NEW LIGHT: An example of energy efficient, architecturally designed bulbs that could be installed. Staff say they would achieve a similar look to the original dome lights. Picture: Newcastle Council

TweetFacebook The changing lights of Carrington “This style of sphere dome light will quickly self-destruct due to the severe vibration caused by traffic on the bridge, will not survive in the salt environment and will be prone to vandalism,” it said.“Note that the previous sphere-shaped lights were a regular target for vandalism.”

But Carrington resident Susan Mitchell couldn’t recall any instances of the old lights being vandalized.

“The lights that we researched, I’m sure that a light manufacturer would know his lights need to be of a robust nature, made out of suitable materials to be functional,” she said.

The review said that if councillors proceeded with the replacement, there were energy efficient, architecturally designed fittings that could achievea similar look to the original dome lights.

They would not be compliantwith pedestrian lighting standards but that could be overcome by installing lighting on the bridge’s handrails.

”Council could propose a selection of three lights, one of which could be selected through consultation with the local community,” the report said.

The cost of installing thelights in January was just over $48,000.To replace all 44 lights would cost $305,000, but a compromise could be reached by installing just 12 lights instead for $88,600.

Labor councillor Stephanie Posniak had not seen the report on Friday, but said she expected she would be asking for clarification onsome aspects of it.

“We’re not questioning the staff’s ability but in this particular case you have to be sensitive to what the community wants,” she said.

Ms Mitchell believed the community would be open to a compromise.

“The reflection on the water from the old lights was beautiful. If they could just replace the ones on the outside of the walkways, it could relive that effect.”

The review warned there would also be ongoing financial costs of about $7,800 or $2460 a year–depending on how many lights were installed–as a result of extra maintenance on the bulbs and power consumption.

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