Richmond studies streetlights on private roads

ARICHAT: Councillors want to draft a report examining what other municipalities are doing about streetlights on private roads.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on October 23, public works director Chris Boudreau sought clarification from council whether private roads qualify for streetlights under the municipality’s Street Light Policy.

Boudreau said the policy has not been applied consistently in the time he has been with the municipality and pointed out that the current policy only lists public roads.

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Deputy warden Brian Marchand explained that, in the past, the municipality has installed single streetlights down private roads.

But district 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher warned that council could open itself to a very expensive proposition. He pointed out that the municipality has never erected streetlights in sub-divisions because those roads are privately owned.

District 1 councillor James Goyetche agreed with the cautious approach, noting out that even though a road is long, contains multiple homes with civic numbers, and is listed in the 911 directory, it is not necessarily a public road.

“We have to be careful if we do amend the by-law to determine what do we mean by private roads,” he told council.

In response to a question from newly elected warden Jason MacLean whether there is a budget for streetlights, Boudreau responded there is a line item for streetlights but no specific plans have been made for that expenditure.

Taking off from MacLean’s concerns that these requests could increase costs and open a can of worms, Marchand said council has to have limits using clear and consistent wording in the by-law.

MacLean added that he would like more information before proceeding with more requests.

“As far as private roads go, that seems to be something that’s growing in popularity so I guess we’ll have to be extra cautious about taking too big a leap forward on that one and opening it up to a point where we might really be exceeding our budget,” he noted.

Council then agreed to Boudreau’s suggestion that municipal staff study what other municipalities are doing then present those findings to the elected body.