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Council Pulls Plug on Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 3, 2015 @ 3:57 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  There have been plenty of questions about   having the trees in Veteran’s Plaza  at  Prince George City Hall lit.  

The trees had previously been  lit  with  strings of lights, but those strings were causing damage to the  trees, so the light strings were removed.

As a possible  enhancement to the City’s budget,   staff were asked to come back with a report on  how  lighting might  be returned to the  area.

The report that was delivered to the City Council’s budget discussion  was shocking.   The minimum cost  for  flood lights that would illuminate   several trees  was $88 thousand dollars and the  top  price was  in the $130 thousand dollar range.

No one on  Council  could  support the project,  but Councillor Susan Scott  suggested  the City look for sponsorship “Opportunities abound” said Scott.

While Councillor Murry Krause  pointed out lighting up the area would be a positive  safety  move,  Councillor Merrick said if anything is to be  lit up, it should be walkways in the community.

Council  agreed to  receive the report,   with the hope alternatives, or sponsorship  can be found.


A few floodlights can’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. What exactly were the ideas considered?

Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015 @ 6:27 AM by billposer with a score of 1

A few floodlights can’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. What exactly were the ideas considered?


Knowing this city, they’d have to hire someone full time to look after them.

Projector laser light units that put varying patterns of laser color lights on buildings, trees and shrubbery are readily available for about 150 bucks each. How on earth can they come up with numbers like 88 thousand to 130 thousand?

Lights can cost that much. Several LED floods will be a few thousand dollars each. Depending on where they are fed from, long cable pulls/trenching/or poles will need to be added. Labour is expensive and electrical infrastructure is expensive. I’m not surprised by this at all. I work at the pulp mill in the electrical department and everyone is always surprised how much electrical work costs.

Yet they can find 12500 to go for a plane ride to China.

If you have hade to hirer a electrician lately to do a job up to specs you would know it would be expense [SAFTY FIRST]

Well let’s not forget that they would need to do a report to figure out which flood lights would be best. This would take up about $80,000 of that price estimate ;).

Throw up a half dozen or so solar power motion lights from Costco. $39.99 each. Problem solved. No need for expensive electricians or electrical inspections.

So here is another way to look at it.

Many moons go, the City spent money on putting lights on the trees in front of City Hall. It was a project similar to what many communities have, especially winter cities.

They spent staff time on proposing and planning the project and certifying that the installation met their requirements. In addition, they spent money to purchase and install the lights. I do not know how much it cost to maintain each year for the electricity and to do whatever minor fixing up may have been required.

It seems they did not include a replacement cost in their annual budget as they are now doing for roads and some other City infrastructure.

In other words, they did not do a life-cycle costing for that program. It was a simple one-time project.

It’s like commercial enterprises, they come and go. Whatever is the flavour of the day or the whim of Administration and Council.

Due to the continued struggle with balancing the budget, and rising costs, we have no other choice but to turn off the light at the end of the tunnel. Have a happy holiday.

OK, so on line, you can buy a 40ft fake Christmas tree, that you can use again and again. It costs about $55,000.00 to buy, plus $75.00 for shipping and handling.

Is there anything else that Councillor Merrick works on besides Bicycle safety and sidewalks? It seems to be all we ever hear from her.

Elf lite 39.99….20 employees to install priceless…get this a pothole filler jus went down my street…6th time…and when do you fill holes in the snow…I can hear the Puppies howling….

She, like several others on Council, lives in her own world and brings that world to Council with her. It is what we all do. Except, we are not on Council and we are not expected to know the City like the backs of our hands.

All the newbies have been there for one year now. The initial year should have been a steep learning curve for them. The second year should be easier and the third and fourth year will be coasting time. The back of the hand will be much clearer then, having had the time to locate one’s reading glasses.

She does, however, ask some detailed and good questions at budget. In fact, I would say that at last night’s meeting she spoke the most. It was, however, pointed out to her by Brian Skakun that when one does not understand something in the material presented, it might be easier to go to staff to get explanations before the Council meeting.

All good and well. That might work sometimes. However, when one gets the Council package midweek before the meeting, and there are two non-working days in between, and one needs to read the material before one realizes there are some things that are not quite as clear as they should be, there is virtually no time to get information.

“….. and when do you fill holes in the snow”

When you did not plan the summer work well enough to get it done then.

Or, better still, when you find out that there is still money left in the budget and you do not want to accrue it into the next year….. or are not allowed to.

“Due to the continued struggle with balancing the budget, and rising costs, we have no other choice but to turn off the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Actually, I think the problem is in not installing the lights properly in the first place. Sounds to me that they were wrapped around the branches in some or all cases to support them rather than suspending them separately from small anchors drilled into the branches.

I cannot think of any other reasons why they lights were kicking the trees. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on that. (pun intended) :-)

“Councillor Merrick said if anything is to be lit up, it should be walkways in the community.’

Good idea! Shine the light on those sidewalks that are too steeply slanted towards the street, too narrow, too cracked and potholed and too slippery to walk on because of no or poor sanding.

Hi Tomyd,
If your curious as to what else I’ve been working on the past year, I’ve made a list: http://www.jillianforcouncil.com/a-year-in-review/

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