Downtown streetlight project continues

City workers were busy last week preparing Centre Street for new street lights. The work is a continuation of a project started last fall. After asphalt and bricks along the sidewalk are removed, SaskPower will move in to complete the job. Here, city labourer Kane Shkopich saws through asphalt along Centre Street.

City workers were busy last week preparing Centre Street for new street lights. The work is a continuation of a project started last fall. After asphalt and bricks along the sidewalk are removed, SaskPower will move in to complete the job. Here, city labourer Kane Shkopich saws through asphalt along Centre Street.

by Phil Ambroziak

A brighter future awaits downtown Meadow Lake.

Work began last week on the next phase of an ongoing streetlight replacement project along Centre Street. The city – in conjunction with SaskPower – is conducting the work, which began Aug. 7 between 2nd and 4th Avenues.

“This is an initiative of SaskPower – they have a program where they’re replacing a number of streetlights and poles including those along the first three blocks of Centre Street,” explained Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal.

A similar project was undertaken last year between Railway and 2nd Avenues, the final touches for which were recently applied when that stretch of road was repaved earlier this summer.

“The idea was to do the first block last fall while the next two blocks would be done this year,” Vidal continued. “Work has already started – they’ve been digging out the edge of the curbs in preparation for the new lights.”

Unlike last year’s phase of the project, Vidal said the plan at this point is not to repave the entire stretch between 2nd and 4th after the new lights are installed.

“They’ll only be repaving the strip along the edge of the sidewalk,” he said. “This will allow us to continue with other paving projects throughout the city.”

The paving will either take place in late fall or early spring. Meanwhile, Vidal said the completed project is expected to make the downtown core more attractive to patrons and passersby.

“Absolutely, that is a benefit,” he said. “But, I also think a lot of these lights were past their lifespan. Last summer, prior to the Summer Games, SaskPower did sandblast and repaint the streetlights along the highway for aesthetic purposes, but I think the ones along Centre Street are simply outdated. It could have to do with functionality issues or simply ensuring they feature the latest technology or hardware.”

The city also recognizes the inconvenience factor that will undoubtedly arise once the bulk of the work is underway. Business owners raised concerns about the project last year and, even though notices were issued well in advance, he expects there could be more of the same before all is said and done.

“It’s one of those things the community could look at 10 different ways – no matter what happens, you’re probably never going to please everyone,” he noted.

In a letter to business owners and also posted on the city’s website, city engineer Edgar Parreno confirmed it will be necessary to close the street partially or completely to vehicular traffic during the construction period because of safety concerns.

“No street closure is expected to last more than 24 hours at a time,” he wrote.

While not a business per se, one storefront that will be affected by the project is the Meadow Lake Primary Health Centre located at 218 Centre St. Clinic administrator Bobbi Bremner said there are no plans in place as to accommodate patients trying to attend the facility while the road is closed.

“We’re just going to have to deal with it,” Bremner said. “Our doors will still be open. We’re not a shop, so people who need our services are still going to come to us regardless. It’s going to be an inconvenience for sure, but people will likely park somewhere up the street and walk down.”

Bremner said if this isn’t a possibility, patients still have the option of attending the local hospital. The project is expected to warp up around the middle of October.

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