Wagga’s much loved Lake Albert set to light up with donated light poles

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Feb. 26, 2016, Daily Advertiser:

Wagga’s iconic Lake Albert will soon become a shining beacon, following the launch of the city’s Lights4Lake initiative yesterday.

The project will see local businesses and individuals able to purchase one of 104 light poles that will majestically wind their way around the lake, lighting the pathway and picturesque surroundings for the community.

Committee for Wagga CEO Chris Fitzpatrick said the lake was one of this city’s most valuable natural icons and the project would add to its accessibility and aesthetic. “We’ve got to enhance the lake for people to benefit from its full potential,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.  “This project will enhance the lake as a natural geographical feature and make the most of its beauty, because it’ll be quite a spectacle when it’s all lit up.” According to Mr Fitzpatrick, the solar-powered lights, which include an LED lamp, would add to the longevity and safety of the lake. “These lights will help to extend the life of the lake, so even when it’s dark in the early morning and evening, people can still enjoy the space while feeling safe and secure,” he said.

37 donations for light poles have been made so far, some from local businesses looking to support the community and others from individuals who have a special connection to the lake.

One such individual is local Trish Fellows, whose father, Paul Alsemgeest, died in a water skiing accident on the lake in 1974. Mrs Fellows said her family purchased the light pole to honour her father, who made Wagga his new home after migrating from Holland. “When I heard about the project I thought it was the perfect opportunity to have a little light to signify dad,” Mrs Fellows said. “I thought it would be a really nice and happy way to commemorate him and now he will be a shining light looking out over the lake.” Mrs Fellows, who lives in Lake Albert, said she and her family regularly spent time there and the addition of lights would enormously enhance the area. “You only need to come here at any time of the day and you’ll see friends and families walking, cycling, having barbecues and sharing the space together.” “It’s nice to be able to give back to a part of the community that’s lent so much to us.”

Mater Day Catholic College, located at the southern end of the lake, purchased the light pole closest to the school to show its support for the project. College manager Nicky Alsemgeest said the school’s students often used the lake for cross country events and water sports and this was its way of giving something back. “Our students use the lake a lot and this is a way of us giving back and contributing to the community,” she said.

There are 67 lights still available for purchase, which can be engraved with the name of donours, and Ms Alsemgeest said everyone should support the initiative.

“We’d love to see more schools and clubs get on board and help realise the potential of this incredible feature of our city,” she said.

Story courtesy of The Daily Advertiser

MediaCristy Houghton