Times in Trail

Times in Trail: Bridge lighting must be done right to enjoy lasting benefits

"The city told the people spearheading the project that if they can raise half the money, the city would supply the other half."

There is much ado about the bridge lighting project of late.

While some have stated publicly that the money is better used on other projects or other projects deserve priority, the basic fact remains that the city told the people spearheading the project that if they can raise half the money, the city would supply the other half.

It’s the same offer the city made to the skate park society and often to other groups coming forward with ideas.

I’ve stated before in this space that I believe the bridge lighting is a great project that only adds to the city.

Much like the murals have no immediate benefits, the long-term beautification of empty walls has become a source of pride within the community.

I believe the bridge lighting would serve a similar purpose. It may not pay immediate dividends but in the long run it could become another unique feature that the city can boast in everything from postcards to walking tours.

However, there is one caveat – please do it right.

I say that after attending a recent Trail Smoke Eaters game.

There was a time, only a few years ago, that it was a source of pride to tell visitors that we have a video screen on our scoreboard.

That always amazed visitors that such a small community could have a beautiful rink and a snazzy scoreboard that showed replays. It was almost big league.

Of course that isn’t how it is now.

There is no display. There are no replays. It’s basically a score clock much like the one Trail gave up when the money from the 2010 Winter Olympics was being doled out.

If you remember the whole idea was to give communities money to help bring people together to enjoy the Olympic experience.

The goal was that a new video scoreboard would allow the people of Trail to gather in the Cominco Arena and enjoy the opening and closing ceremonies.

That didn’t happen. And even when Canada beat the U.S. in the gold-medal game, the crowd gathered in the comfort of the Royal Theatre to watch it rather than the Cominco Arena.

It quickly went from a source of a pride to a bit of an embarrassment, as costly replacement parts were needed, the video display was sporadic and, frankly, the city failed to capitalize on the benefits the scoreboard offered.

Now it appears it’s just too expensive to do anything about the video quality so it’s been mothballed for now until a better option comes along.

Anyone with an old TV still sitting in the basement knows all too well that the better option is to just buy a new HDTV.

But that won’t happen when it comes to something as expensive as the scoreboard. That was a $400,000 gift from the Olympic legacy fund that won’t be coming around again.

So with that in mind, I’m hoping the people behind the lighting project think ahead.

I saw pictures of Calgary’s Langevin Bridge with its lights aglow online and imagined how nice the Victoria St. Bridge would look.

The Calgary bridge was able to offer a variety of colours and highlight different occasions from Remembrance Day to Christmas.

One hopes that the goal of Trail’s bridge lighting group is to offer that same variety – from going black and orange for a Smokies game, to an array of colours for Christmas and Silver City Days to somber hues for memorials.

However, in today’s technology what works today is usually obsolete tomorrow.

I see that in the Cominco Arena clock every time I go there.

I hope the people behind the bridge lighting project see it too and plan accordingly to make it a lasting feature in our home.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times.

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