Coun­cil ex­plains story be­hind shel­ter

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

It’s a bus shel­ter with a hole - a special hole de­signed by an ar­chi­tect.

Af­ter four years of plan­ning, and $300,000 pumped into the project, Blen­heim’s new bus shel­ter has left some peo­ple scratch­ing their ex­posed heads.

A pic­ture of the gi­ant open­ing in the roof was seen by more than 200,000 peo­ple on Face­book, right across the coun­try.

Most of the com­menters were im­pressed.

But the Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil has leapt to the shel­ter’s de­fence.

The hole ac­tu­ally rep­re­sents the Ma¯ori name for the Wairau Val­ley, Kei puta te Wairau, which means ‘‘the place with the hole in the sky’’ or ‘‘the place with the hole in the cloud’’.

The rest of the shel­ter, de­signed by architects in Christchurch, is meant to mimic the peaks and val­leys of Blen­heim’s Wither Hills. It also has a space pro­tected by re­in­forced glass walls.

But a coun­cil spokes­woman said the coun­cil had no plans to put up any in­for­ma­tion signs to ex­plain the de­sign of the shel­ter. The hole also made for a good place to sit un­der on sun­nier days, she said.

The Marl­bor­ough Friend­ship

900-plus less than Force first cam­paigned for a new shel­ter at the Blen­heim Rail­way Sta­tion in 2013 af­ter a group of Aus­tralian vis­i­tors they were host­ing spent an hour wait­ing in the rain for a bus.

A Marl­bor­ough Ex­press post on so­cial me­dia last week show­ing the shel­ter in the rain struck a chord up and down the coun­try reach­ing 203,328 peo­ple, with 911 com­ments (707 on desk­top) and 248 shares.

‘‘Some id­iot in the lo­cal coun­cil be­ing paid megabucks to come up with the de­sign!!! I would love to see his house if this is the best he could come up with ... but wait, maybe a com­mit­tee de­signed it!!!’’ Auck­lan­der Peter Glass said.

Kath­leen Gilchrist, of Blen­heim, called the shel­ter ’’a waste of money’’. The de­sign was not sym­pa­thetic to its sur­round­ings, she said.

‘‘It does not blend with the rail­way sta­tion at all.’’

But oth­ers wel­comed the un­usual look. Blen­heim’s Deb­bie Elsmore said it was a ‘‘nice place to sit and wait’’.

David Stubbs said the shel­ter was a ‘‘re­ally cool struc­ture’’.

A break­down of how the coun­cil spent its $300,000 on the shel­ter has been re­quested.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

The hole rep­re­sents the Ma¯ori name for the Wairau Val­ley, and makes for a good place to sit on sunny days.

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