Bonnyville Town Council has expressed their discontent with the newly installed street lights on Highway 28/50th Avenue. The lights, which were installed in the late fall, were not what the Town agreed to, says Council. The Town was supposed to get 19 lights at a cost of roughly $171,000. However, the Town only received 13 lights, at the same cost. The lights were also supposed to be taller than they are to help illuminate the opposite side of the road. Both of these issues have caused Council to write ATCO with their displeasure in hopes of some resolve.
Councillor Ray Prevost addressed Council regarding his displeasure with the lights, “I think the fact that the lights were supposed to be three metres higher is huge. There’s a real shadow on the [south] side of that road.” Councillor Prevost invited Council for a drive down the stretch of road, the invite was proven unnecessary, as the remaining five Councillors, Mayor Gene Sobolewski, and Cheif Administrative Officer, Mark Power, seemed well aware of the issues. “I also think if the lights were tilted somewhat they would shine across the street,” continued Councillor Prevost, “I’m pretty disappointed, it’s not what we were told we were going to get. We were told we would get lights that were higher and further back. It’s just not correct and I think it’s time we have a meeting with ATCO.”
Councillor Prevost suspected that some of the poles used in the project were the same poles that were there before, however the Town had paid for new poles. CAO Power confirmed the Councillor’s suspicions, that ATCO had charged for new poles and used some of the old poles. “We can’t just let this rest,” stated Councillor Prevost.
We are very upset and we’ve asked for meetings with ATCO and it’s prudent, that at least administratively, we get across to them how dissatisfied we are. -Mark Power Chief Administrative Officer Town of Bonnyville
CAO Power assured Council that he had asked for a meeting with ATCO to address these issues, however ATCO has not responded to his request. “Our understanding was there was going to be 19 lights, more lights than what is there now, and further from the highway and taller. That’s how they would accommodate lighting the other side of the road,” CAO Power explains that ATCO had not told the Town that the job would be contracted out, “they also told us that they would be doing the job.” With that information Council approved the work and were required to pay upfront before any work could start.
“The next thing we know, a private contractor is in here doing the work.” Even more surprises were had when the CAO called ATCO to discover that the original person the Town had dealt with, regarding this project, is no longer employed at ATCO. Despite that person no longer being with the company, Power says ATCO is, “very well aware that the lights were supposed to be installed by ATCO’s own people at a cost of $171,000.”
The cost per light on this job is almost $15,000 per light. The cost per light on a new subdivision we just did was almost $8,000 and those are beautiful LED lights, the same as the ones on the highway, except half of the ones on the highway are on the old poles. So they don’t look anything as nice as the ones in Eastgate and we paid double the price. -Mark Power Chief Administrative Officer Town of Bonnyville
To reinforce the Town’s dissatisfaction a motion was passed that the Town writes another letter, this time to ATCO’s head office in Edmonton, asking for a meeting. The Town is hoping that this letter will be met with a response and a meeting.