Lighting up the Victoria Street Bridge with LED lights programmed to suit Silver City events could be an illuminating attraction and draw people to the downtown core for a look-see.
With that idea in mind, the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee (DOAC) approached council members at the governance meeting Monday with the $350,000 proposal.
“Bridge lighting is exciting and is limitless with how you can change the colours to reflect the season,” explained Mike Martin, DOAC chair. “For example, the LEDs can be programmed green and red for Christmas or Smokies colours during game night,” he said. “I think for that reason it will be an attraction and conversation point in town and people will want to come and see the latest light show.”
The DOAC approached council with an option to consider when deciding if the project will be green-lighted in this year’s budget.
Martin pointed out that making the bridge a focal point, with lights reflecting off the Columbia River shores, may be a more defined feature to the downtown, rather than the already planned major gateway features.
Trail council has allotted $363,000 for the major gateway structures to be installed during Phase 2 of the Victoria Street project, set to begin this spring.
The gateway features are four red arches that will be installed on either side of Victoria Street in the area of the Best Western and Plus Columbia River Hotel and before the bridge in the vicinity of the Trail Memorial Centre.
“We suggest that those gateways be delayed or cancelled and the money allocated to lighting the bridge,” said Martin. “The gateways are markers and may get lost in the city landscape, but bridge lighting will really be a stand out.”
To aid with funding the project, Martin suggested the DOAC could approach local businesses for corporate sponsorship, and recognize those partnerships during a lighting ceremony and on a plaque at the bridge gateway.
Additionally, he included the future pedestrian bridge, at the south end of town, in the bridge lighting plan by proposing that the 1,000-foot river crossing be adorned in complimentary LEDs at a later date.
“Trail would have these two bookends of the downtown,” he said. “And I also suggested a future concept of lights along the Esplanade, that would be reflective in the river.”
Council will discuss the lighting project and consider the specific request to make a change in the downtown revitalization plans to focus on the river, confirmed Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs.
“Our first budget meetings begin in the next few weeks,” he said. “The option of bridge lighting will be addressed during that process.”
To visualize how the Trail bridge could be highlighted with 128 LED lights strung across the four arches, Martin referred to the 100-year-old Langevin Bridge in Calgary, and the Tynehead Pedestrian Bridge in Surrey.
For the last few years, those sites have been an attraction with highlighted beams and trusses, and touted a community milestone that connects neighbourhoods with colourful displays that do not cause glare to motorists.
The LEDs expected lifespan is approximately 35 years of operation if the lights run eight hours daily, and consume the power of about three households, according to the Calgary Municipal Land website.
“I think we had a good reception and council certainly seems interested,” said Martin. “But before we can proceed we need a commitment from the city and approval to pursue partners on their behalf.”