Solar to light up iconic Lake Albert

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SOLAR powered lights around Lake Albert could pave the way for the city’s street lights to also make the switch, according to Wagga mayor Rod Kendall.

Wagga City councillors last night resolved to contribute $75,000 to the $230,000 project that will see 75 solar powered lights dotted around the 5.5km walkway, which hugs the iconic lake.

The Lights 4 Lake project is the brainchild of Committee 4 Wagga (C4W), who will contribute $115,000 through individual pole sponsorship, while a state government grant covers the remaining $40,000.

Councillors unanimously supported an alternate recommendation at last night’s ordinary council meeting, put forward by Cr Julian McLaren, that $25,000 of council’s $75,000 contribution come from section 94 neighbourhood parks contributions and the remaining $50,000 from the environmental energy saving plan.

Cr Kendall threw his weight behind the recommendation, maintaining the $50,000 should come from the environmental energy savings because the project was all about saving power.  “This project gives us an opportunity not to trial (solar) on critical infrastructure like street lighting but trial the walkway use of solar lighting,” he told the chamber.   “It may well lead us to future consideration of generally moving away from powered street lighting to solar lighting.”

Cr Greg Conkey, however, argued the money should not be sourced from the environmental energy savings because it wasn’t the purpose of the funding.  He put forward an amendment to receive a further report detailing other funding sources for the $50,000.

Cr Kevin Poynter agreed and went on to raise concerns reflected at community consultations about the project being prioritised over a lack of water in the lake.  “For Lake Albert to be a functioning facility, there are a number of things we need to do and we can’t just focus on the water level,” he told the meeting.  “My main reason for raising this is to just assure them committing to this project doesn’t mean (council is) not attempting to resolve other issues at Lake Albert.”

Cr Garry Hiscock said the Lights 4 Lake project could follow suit of other successful C4W projects, including the New Year’s Eve parties and, more recently, securing CCTV for the city.   C4W is showing the community that we can have partnerships with the city and council,” he said.

Cr Alan Brown also supported the project, but asked C4W look closely at the heavily wooded end of the lake when determining where the lights would be installed.

C4W will now be tasked with installing the lights that must come with a three-year guarantee.

Cr Kerry Pascoe said lights around Lake Albert would be reminiscent of lights flickering on Darling Harbour, while Cr Paul Funnell maintained it was only right council financially commit to the project after vowing to first support it in principle in 2013.

Councillors voted against Cr Conkey’s amendment, but Cr McLaren’s motion was carried unanimously.

Article courtesy of The Daily Advertiser, June 29 2015

NewsCristy Houghton