Change of direction for signpost

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A container ship passes the erroneous signpost at Stirling Point. Photo: Janette Gellatly

THE signpost at Stirling Point is not a sign of the times, with Invercargill City Council (ICC) chief executive Richard King saying it is out of date and needs to be replaced.

The signpost, which points to 11 geographic locations – the Equator, London, Tokyo, New York, Hobart, Stewart Island, Cape Reinga, Sydney, Wellington, Ruapuke Island and Kumaguya – was also “a bit suspect” when it came to accuracy, he said.

Council roading manager Russell Pearson said the signpost had been surveyed and complaints that the fingers did not point in the right direction had been found to be correct.

Some of the distances listed on the signpost had also been found to be inaccurate, he said.

“The signpost has always been a generic indication of where things are. We want to get it right, and we will, but the good news is no one has ever followed the signpost’s directions and got lost.”

Mr King said although the signpost pointed to Kumaguya [Invercargill’s sister city since 1988], it had nothing pointing to Invercargill’s Chinese sister city, Suqian, or China at all, and this was “embarrassing”.

The sister city agreement with Suqian was signed in November 2013.

“We’ve got to get something on there for our Chinese visitors. They expect to see something relating to China, at least Beijing.”

Hobart was indicated by the signpost, but Hobart had not been a sister city of Invercargill for 20 years, Mr King said.

Mr Pearson said a finger pointing to Suqian with an accurate distance would be “popped on” to the signpost when it was corrected or replaced.

Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said the signpost was a big drawcard for tourists and very important for the Bluff community, with many carloads of visitors arriving every day and “thousands and thousands” visiting yearly just to get their photograph taken underneath it.

It was time to bring the sign up to date, he said.

Mr King said he did not know how much replacing the sign would cost or when the replacement would go ahead.

Mr Pearson said the customer service aspect of correcting or replacing the signpost was the most difficult aspect.

“It’s a logistics thing rather than technical [because the sign is so popular with visitors]. Do we come and make changes in the middle of the night, or just build a new one and put it in? It’s a job for the near future, anyway.”

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