by Colin Smith
The work to extend the 2017 project that installed solar lights around the Fish and Game pond and then east along the trail to 100 Street will be paid for by money diverted from another stalled project – curb bulbing along 100 Avenue.
At Town Council’s November 13 meeting Councillor Stephen Dafoe moved that up to $180,000 from the Town’s safety reserve allocated for the curb bulbing project be repurposed for trail lighting.
Funds in the Safety Reserve are made up of revenue from Morinville’s photo radar enforcement program.
Curb bulb-outs or extensions are concrete peninsulas extending from the sidewalk into a roadway with the aim of enhancing visibility and reduce the amount of street pedestrians have to cross.
Dafoe himself initially proposed using Safety Reserve money for the curb bulb-outs in 2017.
The current plan is to continue with solar lights along the trail from 100 Street eastward to the Storm Water Lift Station, halfway to the end of the trail near East Boundary Road.
The ultimate goal is to tie the trail system and solar lights to the Morinville Community Recreation Facility.
Dafoe argued that a lack of urgency on the part of the provincial government toward the curb project could result in nothing being done on it for years.
“We have an opportunity here to make sure that the trail is safe,” he said. “Illuminating our trails that people use every day is incredibly important. Particularly in this climate where it gets dark at four.”
Speaking against the motion, Mayor Barry Turner argued that the funds should be saved for the curb project.
“We set the priority in the past,” he said. “I think it’s a higher priority for pedestrian safety at this point.”
But Turner’s was the sole vote against the motion.
Earlier Council had been presented with a quote from Park N Play Design for installation of solar lighting along the trail to Storm Water Lift Station.
The cost for the job is $133,833 if contracted in 2018, jumping to $144,985 next year.
The Town would be responsible for auguring holes for the light stands and removing soil from the site.