Kalgoorlie & Coolgardie, 5th January 2011
Out in the bush today! We have some projects on-going in the “countryside” and today I followed up on our multi-year staged lighting implementation plan with the city council and shire to improve and upgrade the street lighting as part of the state’s road safety campaign. This involves dealing with power companies, as in most of Australia, most of the rural street lighting is under control of the electrical power company. The actual ownership of (and hence responsibility for) the lighting however belongs to the City Council or Shire when it comes to the city or the town streets (depending on the population size it is called a town or a city) or to the state’s Main Roads department when it comes to general state’s road network. So in my case I had to figure out first whether the roads belong to the City or the State to determine the responsibility for making sure the lighting is compliant to road safety standards.
However the execution is in the hand of the power company, in Western Australia that is Western Power. These state companies are run as commercial enterprises and they have (the City or Main Roads depending who owns the “property”) pay for doing the lighting installation works. It is not like you can buy your own lights and install them along the roads, they somehow need to be approved by the power company. This construction applies in different versions in many other countries as well and makes dealing with public road lighting installations quite a complicated and at times frustrating undertaking. Today however was a pleasant experience with the power company’s representative in a very cooperative and supportive mood. But then he is not the one that will be paying for it…
Today’s Light Watch relates to the importance to community sporting facilities in rural areas. A case where good does not necessarily mean expensive. I took the opportunity to visit one of our completed projects that has been enthusiastically received by the local community. This is a clip from the local newspaper, the Kalgoorlie Miner:
Light Watch 3: Digger Daws Oval, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia