Last week, Vermilion town council authorized administration to tender a street light assessment study, so they can ensure adequate lighting throughout the community in the future.
With the study, they intend to identify problem areas and create an implementation plan to increase the light in the necessary spots.
“We want every place that you are walking to be safe and lit. Right now, it is just not that way,” said councillor Clint McCullough.
He said there are at least 15 – 20 spots within the community that have dead light spots, and they have received some complaints with residents worried about traffic and not seeing pedestrians.
“Five different residents have contacted me, and even when I’m walking it’s dark,” said McCullough.
They are examining these spots after the light poles and sodium fixtures were sold last year to ATCO and changed over to LED. McCullough said the new lights definitely create less light pollution.
“We were told new lights would be comparable to old ones – that they would be even better so to hear this is quite troubling,” said councillor Justin Thompson.
“Undoubtedly safety is important. Of course, we shouldn’t have people that are uncomfortable walking our streets at night.”
Director of Transportation & Utilities, Derek Young, said there are some obvious spots such as near the lodge.
When he reached out to ATCO, they were trying to determine whether a stronger light or a different pole in the middle of two existing ones might be a better option. He wants to have a plan in place so that when doing other work in the area they can look at the potential placement of the lighting system.
“In a number of spots, a simple fix may be the solution. To a certain extent, a town wide standard may be effective to improve things and take things forward for a number of years,” said Young.
Councillor Richard Yaceyko said,”Some areas may be obvious, but some areas I would assess when there is foliage because the trees may create different spots.”
Council discussed whether ATCO would provide the study if it was not the town’s responsibility, or potentially a third party if they were looking at it from a safety angle.
“Whether from ATCO or a third party, I think it’s imperative we do this. We don’t have to be doing these all in one year, but identifying them will provide a road map to do that,” said Councillor Greg Barr.
“I think by doing this tender and assessing the market it gives us some leverage,” said councillor Robert Pulyk.