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WW councillors raises concerns about darkness at intersections

·3 min read

Whitewater Region -- The number of vehicles on area roads in Whitewater Region has increased, especially with the pandemic, and there are dangerous intersections that need to be lit up at night.

Whitewater Region Councillor Neil Nicholson said residents have talked to him about underlit intersections. The three he is aware of include LaPasse Road and Lookout Road; Westmeath and Gore Line and Foresters Falls and Zion Line. While he realizes some are county and some are municipal roads, he is hopeful there could be an opportunity to work together to ensure the safety of motorists.

Coun. Nicholson said reviewing the building permits that have been purchased within the township, “the number of people living here and using our roads is increasing.

“I am meeting up with more and more people at these intersections. If the county doesn’t want to light them up, maybe we need to take it on,” he said.

Councillor Dave Mackay said while there are intersections that need to be lit up, LaPasse and Lookout roads is not one, as there is nothing in the line of sight.

Councillor Charlene Jackson said there are numerous intersections, including Cedar Haven Road and Foresters Falls Road, that need some sort of illumination. She even suggested instead of using electricity, solar-powered lights could be used, such as what’s in use at Westmeath and Beachburg roads.

She suggested staff review intersections and prepare a report for council.

While people who have lived in the area for years know the intersections, Coun. Jackson noted there have been some changes made at various intersections and those who are new to the area, won’t be familiar with them.

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Tremblay said the LED lights is starting to show financial benefits, so those savings can go towards safety issues.

Mayor Mike Moore said even roads within the town, hamlets and villages, need to be reviewed, noting Anderson Drive in Beachburg, from Beachburg Road to Little Road, could use some lighting, as more people are walking along it, and it’s dark.

“It’s only a matter of time before something happens,” he said.

Reeve Cathy Regier said the county has studied some of these intersections, and there has been no interest in lighting them up.

Councillor Daryl McLaughlin thought the township was working on a lighting policy already. And if not, it should be, and those intersections that meet the criteria should be lit, while those that don’t, won’t.

“When we decide to start this, get ready for the requests to come in,” he said.

He also noted that while it’s nice to light up intersections, there is always a cost involved.

Coun. Nicholson agreed the “money pot is not limitless, (and) we may have to make some tough decisions.”

It was agreed staff review options to illuminate the intersection of Foresters Falls Road/Zion Line, Gore Line/Westmeath Road, Lapasse Road/Lookout Road, as well as any other priority intersections as part of the Streetlight LED conversion project, and in partnership and with funding from Renfrew County where required, and make recommendations for council.

Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader