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Baldwin Street residents divided on the loss of world-record

Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 5:57PM
Baldwin Street lost its title of world's steepest street this morning. (Photo / NZPA)

Some long-time residents of the former steepest street in the world are ecstatic it has lost its title, but others are less joyful. 

After verification by Guinness World Records, Baldwin Street has lost its crown to a steeper road in the Welsh town of Harlech.

Baldwin street resident Sharon Hyndman told Heather du Plessis-Allan Dunedin deserves the title.

"Even though I've been quite vocal in the past about tourist safety and behaviour, I still would have quite liked to have kept the title." 

Hyndman said it is common knowledge that the tourism population in Dunedin is growing, and it does bring some issues. She said she's had tourists walking around her property and looking through windows.

She does hope that the loss of the title does not see them lose their tourists, and they may re-brand as the Southern Hemisphere's steepest street.

"We just have to keep working on beautifying our street and making it user and resident friendly."

Baldwin St resident Liisa Tate-Manning said she had endured the disruption caused by tourists while living on the street for about 30 years.

That included tourists parking over her driveway or peering in her windows, although most were polite, she said.

Asked for her reaction to the announcement, Tate-Manning said simply: "Hallelujah!''

She hoped the crowds would get smaller, but expected many would continue to visit "because it is a tourist attraction''.

"It's not their fault, because they are brought here by tourist buses.''

Some residents were less keen to talk to media, including one man, emerging from his home, who brushed past the ODT while refusing to discuss "trivia''.

The Otago Daily Times visited Baldwin St this morning and found a steady trickle of tourists climbing the steep incline.

Among them was Kathryn Ruge, of Christchurch, who was with her children - twins William and Daniel, both 12, and daughter Lucy, 15.

Ruge said her sons' birthdays were tomorrow and, as she was in Dunedin for a visit anyway, felt climbing the steepest street in the world was a good way to mark her boys' final day as 12-year-olds.

The news Wales had taken the title from Dunedin was "a bit distressing really''.

"It's a New Zealand icon, like the jaffa. The two go together.''

The change meant the family might have to "doctor our photos to say the second steepest street in the world'', but she would visit again anyway - especially given the attraction was free.

Ffordd Pen Llech, a street in the North Wales town of Harlech, has now been awarded the title.

Ffordd Pen Llech, a street in the North Wales town of Harlech, has now been awarded the title.

The new title also had a ring to it, she believed.

"It has the honour of being formerly the steepest street in the world.

"It's like 'the artist formerly known as' - it's the street formerly known as the steepest in the world,'' she said.

Another tourist, Venus Yeh, of Taiwan, was visiting Dunedin as part of a tour group with her family.

She said was "a little bit disappointed'' to hear the news, but the street was still "beautiful'' and very steep, leaving her "very tired''.


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