City earmarks $900K to replace lamp standards

Waterfront lights suffering corrosion due to ‘sea-salt environment.’

A windstorm last August downed a lamp standard on Marine Drive.

A windstorm last August downed a lamp standard on Marine Drive.

The City of White Rock is planning to set aside $900,000 from its capital reserves after learning that close to 100 light standards at the waterfront may need to be replaced.

The financial plan amendment – one of several given first, second and third reading at a special council meeting Monday – will allow the funds to be available should the work need to be done this year.

According to the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations, an assessment is currently underway following the “failure” of three light poles in recent months.

One of those standards toppled over during an intense windstorm last August, St. Louis said, followed by another a few weeks ago and a third that was observed to be “leaning.”

“Back in 2012, we did an assessment of all the poles, and at that time 95 per cent of them were in good shape,” St. Louis told Peace Arch News following Monday’s meeting, noting many of the poles have suffered corrosion due to the “sea-salt environment” on the waterfront.

St. Louis said in a worst-case scenario, all 92 light standards south of Marine Drive would need to be replaced. He said the city is determining if the work would be eligible for any grant money from BC Hydro, as the lights would likely be converted to LED bulbs at the same time.

The funding amendment was among a handful described by staff as “technical” and based on new information received since the 2016-2020 financial plan was adopted March 21.

An additional $71,300 in tax revenue was highlighted among the changes, with $64,400 of that recommended by staff to be put into the city’s capital reserve fund, in part due to the “unexpected” expenditure for the Marine Drive light standards.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin, however, tabled a motion – carried unanimously – to have the extra $64,000 allocated to parks maintenance, noting the city’s green space had been “showing a lack of attention.”

“Our reserves are pretty healthy – they’re not perfect, but they’re pretty good,” Baldwin said. “We’ve come up with some late-rising revenues that are sustainable in the form of taxation from new development, that could help offset some of those costs of paying a bit more attention to the parks instead of neglecting them like we do.”

Council also voted Monday to give first, second and third reading to amendments to the city’s drainage utility user fee bylaw, which would see the fees reduced for some large-lot residential properties, and increased for others. Fees are expected to increase by $24 for single-family homes and $7 for stratas.