Council sheds light on Phase 3

LEDs to illuminate Cranbrook streets by end of 2015

Arne Petryshen

The City of Cranbrook is moving ahead with the third phase of LED (light emitting diode) street lighting. Initially slated to be done in three years – 2014, 2015 and 2016 — city staff recommended moving the 2016 LED street lighting budget to 2015.

An LED street light is an integrated light that uses light emitting diodes (LED) as its light source. LED lights are generally less power-consuming, longer lasting, and render colour more accurately

The planning took longer than anticipated and so most of the 2014 funding was carried over into 2015. The first batch of LED fixture were received and installed in the first half of 2015.

City council went with the city staff recommendation to approve moving the 2016 LED street lighting budget for the 2016 project — $168,500 — to the 2015 budget year. The funding for the project comes from the Municipal Infrastructure (Gas Tax) Reserve.

Part of the concern lays on the falling Canadian dollar, but city staff also noted that the entire project could be completed by the end of the year.

“We developed some momentum on the project,” Charlotte Osborne, director of Finance and Computer Services, said. “The first year has been purchased and installed and gone smoothly. So now staff has a very good feel for moving ahead with this, but in order to also secure some more confirmed pricing.”

And that’s where the falling dollar comes in.

“The suppliers are telling us the price is going to go up,” Osborne said.

Coun. Norma Blissett noted that from what she saw in the report, the sooner the city completes the installation, the sooner it can reap the benefits of the energy savings.

“So we’re better off economically to go ahead as fast as possible,” Blissett said. .

Coun. Tom Shypitka said the new lighting itself is a great improvement.

“It’s amazing the difference in the light,” he said. “I drive down 2nd Street North a lot, right in front of Western Financial and it’s just night and day between the old yellowish dull ones and the white bright ones. And the fact that they use less energy is amazing.”

CAO Wayne Staudt said when they started the program they weren’t sure whether people would like the lights so they created the three year phase in.

“But we’re really happy with the results,” Staudt said.

Staudt noted the concerns about the declining value of the Canadian dollar as it would affect the pricing for the 2015 and 2016 portions of the project. In order to lock in the price, Public Works has ordered as many fixtures as the 2015 budget would allow. That included about half of lights planned fro the 2016 portion of the project.

City staff wrote that depending on weather conditions and BC Hydro incentive parameters, it’s possible that they could complete both the 2015 and the 2016 components of the project before Dec. 31 of 2015. That would result in the city achieving hydro cost savings much sooner than expected.

The report noted that there is no impact of bringing the LED Street Lights project funding into 2015 on other city projects. It also indicated the funds come from reserves and so have no impact on current year or accumulated surplus.