The City of Fernie is continuing to work out a way to light up its downtown area at night.
The number one priority Fernie Council set for the 2012 – 2016 Financial Plan is to address downtown issues, including a downtown lighting retrofit.
At a special meeting held on Monday, mayor and council reviewed the progress made so far, as well as how they would be moving forward.
The City has been successful in implementing a Public Places Bylaw, which gives the RCMP tools to deal with individuals creating disturbances in the downtown area. They have also allocated $350,000 to go towards surveillance cameras.
The only task that remains is finding a way to better light Fernie’s downtown streets, and it’s proving to be the most difficult.
Improving the lighting downtown will not only illuminate the streets, increasing safety and visibility at night, but also increase the appeal of Fernie in the evening to visitors.
“We do want a brighter look,” remarked Fernie Mayor, Mary Giuliano.
With the initial plan to replace the existing lights with LED bulbs determined too expensive, the City is now investigating alternative options.
One of the suggestions brought up at the meeting was to consider allowing businesses to install lit, neon signs.
“I do think that in the daytime our signs look nice and old-timey, but at night there is a bit of a gloom downtown,” commented Councillor Joni Krats. “I think that lit signage can be quite beautiful, if there are parameters set around that.”
The City will continue to work on a solution, with the hopes of implementing a lighting retrofit within 2013.