Mayor’s in the dark

Mayor Walter Jakeway claims some areas in downtown Campbell River are too dark and pose a danger

Shoppers Row borders on dangerous during the winter, according to Mayor Walter Jakeway.

Jakeway brought to light the darkness on the downtown street at last week’s council meeting, and said he wants it addressed before the shorter days set in.

“I have had discussions with people who work on Shoppers Row who are concerned about lighting along there,” Jakeway said. “Last winter we had a lot of lights out and I don’t think we want to go into winter with that kind of lighting.”

The lights have weathered over the past 25 years.

Jakeway would like to see a city staff report on where the city is at in replacing and upgrading those street lights.

Ron Neufeld, the city’s manager of operations, was able to shed some light during the meeting.

“There was some money set aside for the downtown street lighting project – for the assessment and design and the balance for the lights themselves,” Neufeld said. “Both have proceeded. The design work is more or less complete and will be submitted for 2013 budget discussions. In terms of the works themselves, we purchased the light fixtures and those are now installed.”

The new street lights replaced some of the old and failing lights using the existing bases and electrical services. A consultant hired by the city provided a preliminary design and estimated it would cost $1.45 million to redo the downtown lighting.

The light replacement is meant to be a short-term solution and Neufeld said council will have to discuss further improvements during next year’s financial deliberations.

That wasn’t good enough for Jakeway.

“Will there be a temporary option for this winter to be considered?” Jakeway asked. “It’s pretty dark in some spots. It’s bordering on dangerous.”

Neufeld said the city could look into it.

“Certainly we can take a look to identify dark spots and potentially move luminaries around because we don’t have the funding for new ones,” he said.

Jakeway wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“Then come back to us for some funding because I don’t think it’s responsible to have our main street so dark.”

Coun. Andy Adams said it would be worthwhile for council to take a look at the city’s downtown street lighting plan, and then go from there. Adams made that motion, which was passed by council.