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Palmerston North City Council having none of locals' wish for Paris-style love locks on new bridge

The Palmerston North City Council's been made responsible for killing cupid after cutting off "love locks" on the new He Ara Kotahi bridge.

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Palmerston North City Council’s Jason Pilkington explains. Source: Seven Sharp

Just like the romantic Parisian tradition of putting padlocks with couples' names on bridges over the Seine, locals in Palmy want their own version over their new bridge - but the Council is having none of it.

The tradition has proven so popular, the railings on the Ponts Des Arts in Paris collapsed under the weight of the locks in 2014.

While love locks have started showing up on Palmerston North's new bridge, they didn't last long. The practice of throwing the key into the river below is also being frowned upon.

"We don’t have anything against this romantic gesture – in fact, we built this bridge with that kind of stuff in mind – and that’s the kind of emotion and connection to this bridge and this space that we want to develop in this area," Palmerston North City Council’s parks planner Jason Pilkington told Seven Sharp.

"We've already had two marriage proposals on the bridge, and we’ve had two people ask if they can come and book the bridge out and have their weddings on it, so we’re all for that.

"We don't want that to change, we want to promote that, but there are some issues with the padlocks."

He said the council has been cutting off the locks, which are then kept, over concerns the bridge's stainless steel rails will react with the iron in the padlocks, causing the railing to rust.

Another issue, he said, is the issue around padlocks affecting the lights built into the stainless steel framework of the bridge.

"The lighting's actually one of the big reasons why people are coming down here and professing their love and doing all that kind of stuff, so we don’t want to upset that."

The padlocks being kept by the council will be placed in an area close to the bridge at a later date.

"We've just got to work through that with our partners, with Rangitāne, and we’ll come up with a solution soon so that people will be able to profess their love, and they will be able to do it with the padlocks."