By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The final phase of a street light improvement project in Coaldale has received approval to go forward.
During their regular June 12 meeting, Coaldale town council received an update on a streetlight improvement project.
The origins of the project date back to 2018, when town administration reached out to residents and Fortis on the issue, and council initially proceeded with upgrade in an area roughly one-fourth the size of the town, or 27 lights, for $298,000.
The matter was brought back in 2019, when further options were made available through Fortis involving installing overhead lines rather than burying them, a change which resulted in significant savings for the project and allowing for the opportunity for further light installations across town. Following council approval, between summer 2019 and spring 2023, a total of 140 lights at a cost of $249,291 were added to the town.
An additional 140 streetlights were added to four areas throughout town for a total cost of $249,291.
“We have one small area left and we have about $46,000 in that initial budget,” said Terry May, Public Works Supervisor for the Town, adding that they weren’t asking for any additional money to complete the work. “It has gone on a little longer than we anticipated unfortunately, with the COVID pandemic and the engineering required to do this and the staged approach and such. As it went on a little longer than anticipated, we thought it would be nice to come back and reaffirm the (remaining budget).”
The last area to be upgraded is located between 19th and 20th Avenue and 10th and 13th Street, where two residents have made requests for area lighting upgrades. Once completed, it will add an additional 15-20 lights to the town.
Mayor Jack Van Rijn asked why they were discussing this if council had previously approved the budget for the project. Town CFO Kyle Beauchamp said this was often the case for projects that, during spring/winter budget deliberations, were believed to be completed by the end of the year but weren’t, and still have funds allotted to them that weren’t approved to be carried forward.
“This was kind of an item that straddled a year, straddled different council terms, and so we thought it was best just to check up with council, just to make sure that this is something that we want to continue, because the item was never specifically brought to this council to be approved to be carried forward to the next budget,” said Beauchamp.
Coun. Bill Chapman noted there were still some lighting gaps in some areas, citing around the local arena on Main Street, and asked if there were plans to address that. May said it was the first time he’s heard of that, but he had received another inquiry about lighting in a different area, and can look into it.
When asked if there were funds available in case of requests about streetlights, Beauchamp said there wasn’t any specific item in budget for streetlights, and these funds came from the electrical reserve. If council wanted to add something, they could discuss it in September for the 2024 budget.
Council unanimously passed a motion to provide administration approval to continue with the remaining street light project.