Business waiting for a sign

Having seen roadside signs pointing the way to other local entertainment facilities, such as Snowplanet and Waiwera hot pools, the owners of Auckland Adventure Park in Silverdale felt confident as they applied to Auckland Transport (AT) for a sign of their own.

Managing director Steve Wilkinson says that a sign at the Silverdale end of East Coast Road, and perhaps one also on the motorway, would make a big difference to the business as it tries to get established and draw visitors to the area.

Initially when they applied, a few years ago, AT said the business was too new. The following year, they said there was too much construction going on and it wasn’t a good time. And earlier this year, Adventure Park was told they don’t meet AT’s criteria, as they are a private entertainment complex.

“With commanding motorway signage for places like Snowplanet, naturally this appears inconsistent to me,” Mr Wilkinson says.

He says when he pointed this out, AT said those signs were put up a long time ago and the criteria has since changed.

The criteria also include minimising signs at intersections to reduce driver distraction. Mr Wilkinson points out that recently, backlit signs advertising local businesses (HM March 1) have gone up at intersections. These can be rented from Nu-lite and are installed at AT’s discretion based on safety and other factors.

“These signs are allowed for private enterprises, on the main highway, on intersections and, again, contradict what we’ve been told by AT,” Mr Wilkinson says.

AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says criteria against which requests for ‘general interest’ signs on the transport network are considered include: “that the facility is acknowledged by AT; that it is not on a strategic route, arterial or major road; that the facility is not an acknowledged tourist facility.

The rules also state that trade names and commercial advertising is generally not permitted, with the possible exception of businesses whose name “has become well known through common usage” in Auckland.

AT is responsible only for transport-related signs, and everything else is installed at the cost of the applicant and must be maintained by them.

Mr Hannan says the Auckland Adventure Park was turned down because “it is easy to find, being located on East Coast Road and with signage that is visible from East Coast Road”.

“I understand where AT are coming from, but it’s annoying as they keep changing their reasons, and when you start looking there tons of signs pointing out or advertising private businesses, especially those specially reserved motorway signs or on motorway exits,” Mr Wilkinson says.


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