White Rock is spending $640,000 to replace beachfront lighting, but elected officials have yet to land on a solution for plaques mounted to poles due for replacement.
Bay Hill Contracting Ltd. will replace corroded street light poles along Marine Drive from Bay Street to Stayte Road, along with light poles on the promenade, the city revealed at a council meeting last week.
Lights will be upgraded to LED fixtures. The crosswalk at Marine Drive and Cypress Street will also be upgraded to an overhead illuminated pedestrian crossing to improve visibility.
The new poles will be aluminum with a special coating to protect from salt water and marine air. Work could begin as soon as mid-October.
A three-member committee of city council – composed of Couns. Bill Lawrence, Helen Fathers and Lynne Sinclair – approved the tender Aug. 31.
Expenses of more than $250,000 must be approved by a full council except during the month of August, when council is in recess and the so-called August Contract Committee can make such decisions, according to city policy.
City council received the committee’s decision for information at the Sept. 12 meeting.
“In this case it went to the contract committee because of the need to get on with work,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin told Peace Arch News.
Bay Hill’s contract award is for $510,000. Administration, design and contingency costs are pushing the total price tag to $640,000.
Two other bids came in at a higher cost for construction: Trans-Western Electric Ltd. at $613,000 and Crown Contracting Ltd. at $756,000.
Questions remain over the future of dedication plaques mounted on 35 existing promenade poles. What is known is the new poles “will include a flat rectangular protrusion for mounting of dedication plaques,” according to a report from Greg St. Louis, director of engineering.
In a Sept. 19 report to the governance and legislation committee, staff recommend that existing plaques on promenade light poles be reinstated on the new poles for another 10 years, after which all plaques could be renewed.
“Although most municipalities in the region use a 10-year term, staff are recommending we continue our current practice of a 20-year term, which is reflected in the attached policy,” the report states.
The policy is to come before council on Oct. 3.
Baldwin told PAN council hasn’t decided whether existing plaques could be reused, or new dedication plaques – with new names – could be installed.
“We have a long waiting list of people who want to have some kind of memorial object along the waterfront,” said Baldwin.
“We might end up doing something else with the existing ones.”
White Rock resident Dean Berkeley sounded the alarm earlier this summer over the future of the plaques after learning of the city’s planned upgrades.
He appeared before council Sept. 12 to urge civic politicians not to forget the plaques and the people memorialized on them.
“I’m sure all of us can come up with some idea to maybe replace the plaques on a cenotaph-type figure, if the city wants to go with a different motif, that’s all I’m looking for. Just take that into some consideration,” he said.