Residents see the light, but it's just too bright

Sun block ... Tom Begg wears sunglasses at home to cope with the reflected light from a nearby shopping centre at Bondi Junction.
Sun block ... Tom Begg wears sunglasses at home to cope with the reflected light from a nearby shopping centre at Bondi Junction.
The offending skylight at the Tiffany shopping centre.

The offending skylight at the Tiffany shopping centre.

AT 11 o'clock every morning, Wendy Foley begins her daily ritual of hanging old tea towels and pillow cases over her collection of Judith Nicholls landscape paintings.

Until recently she showed off her mini-gallery, but the light that floods her Bondi Junction flat threatens to fade a lot more than the curtains. ''It's so intense that I worried it will ruin the paintings,'' she says. ''They're oils.''

Boasting of a living area that is ''bathed in light'' is a favourite line of real estate agents. But for the residents of the 90-odd apartments on the northern face of the Eastgate building in Bondi Junction, known as Ocean Court, the light has become unbearable since glass panels were installed on the roof of a neighbouring block.

The panels atop the Tiffany, a Meriton building that straddles the Bondi Junction railway station, reflect a glare so harsh that curtains and blinds cannot block it out, and so blinding that looking out the window at the height of the day is impossible.

Mrs Foley, who has lived with her husband, Peter, in the tower block for nine years, is especially worried because she suffers from cataracts.

Tom Begg, a retired newsagent who lives three floors above the Foleys, wears sunglasses in his living room if he is at home in the middle of the day, as many of the retired residents are.

''The shards of reflected sunlight just light up the entire room so that you can't bear to be inside the unit,'' he said.

''I first noticed it earlier this week when I came out of the kitchen to answer the phone and the lights just blinded me.''

It is the second big problem that many Eastgate residents have encountered. Many have only recently returned to the apartment block after a gas explosion early last year forced them to move out for more than a year.

Mr Begg fears the reflected heat will worsen in the summer. ''I've been here 20 years and I've never had to turn on the airconditioning, not once,'' he said.

A Meriton spokesman said: ''There's no great mystery. The light is a reflection off the skylight above the Tiffany Shopping Centre. The skylight has been there for over a decade without a word of complaint from anyone.

''In March 2009 some protective film was placed on it, and this has caused a problem in the late November sun.

''It only became apparent for the first time this year, because at this time last year all the residents at Eastgate had been evacuated due to a gas explosion.

''The good news is as soon as we were contacted by the Herald, Meriton went round Tom Begg's place, identified the problem, and are already taking steps to rectify the situation.''