ARICHAT: A proposed new policy governing the allotment of streetlights was defeated by councillors.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on February 25 in Arichat, council voted 3-2 against motion to amend the streetlight policy to include private roads with limitations, add the maximum number of streetlights per district per year, and the minimum number of permanent residences on a private road to qualify for street lights.

Along with councillors Alvin Martell and Gilbert Boucher, Richmond Deputy Warden Brian Marchand voted against the policy changes.

Marchand feels elected councillors, not municipal staff, should have approval over where and if streetlights are installed.

“That, to me, says that the director of public works has total control over whether streetlights get installed or not,” Marchand said of the new by-law. “People elect us to be their councillor and they expect us to have some say.

“If there’s something that’s problematic that the director notices with a streetlight going in a certain area, that can be brought up to the councillor, but I think it should be the councillor’s ultimate decision to decide where it goes.”

Marchand also believes that residents living on all types of roads should have access to streetlights.

“I believe everyone, whether you’re on a private road or main highway, should be able to get a streetlight with no limitations,” Marchand said following the meeting.

During the regular monthly meeting on January 28, Marchand questioned why the director of public works and municipal councillors both have to sign-off before a streetlight request is approved. Marchand contended that under the new by-law, elected representatives will be marginalized.

In responding to Marchand’s concerns about the proposed by-law, Warden Jason MacLean explained that council was unable to change the wording of the contentious sections and had to vote on the motion as it was written.

Although the changes were defeated, MacLean added it is necessary to make staff part of the process.

“When all of the initial requests come in, to have it under the scope of an engineer, I think, is a good idea,” the warden noted. “The wording in the policy says the councillor will work with the director of public works so I think that by following through with that, I don’t see any problems with that process.”