When Trevor Embree developed the Heron Ridge ‘Sandhill’ subdivision, he deliberately didn’t include streetlights in the design.
But he may not have a choice. The District of 100 Mile council agreed Tuesday night to notify the adjoining properties of a plan to consider a variance permit to waive the requirements for streetlights, but at the same time asked staff to speak with the developer about lighting alternatives.
Mayor Mitch Campsall said he’s concerned the District will be shouldered with the costs of providing streetlights later on, similar to what is now happening with providing sidewalks in the area, which is costing the District “millions and millions of dollars.” He questioned whether options such as solar could work.
“I just don’t want taxpayers down the road to say this is a mistake,” Campsall said. “What we’ve done in the past is not allow sidewalks and now taxpayers are paying huge dollars to have this.”
Coun. Maureen Pinkney agreed there should be some lighting in the subdivision, even if it’s on the path, to provide safety and security to residents.
Embree, of Bree Contracting, maintains he didn’t realize lighting was part of the zoning requirements.
“I didn’t put any streetlights in because people didn’t want it,” Embree said. “They come here to see the stars in the sky. I’m selling these lots to people who are not interested in having streetlights outside their window.”
Joanne Doddridge, the district’s economic development officer, said the project was very complex, having been changed multiple times over the past year and a half. The plan to not have streetlights was to keep the character of the neighbourhood rural in nature. With all the subsurface works completed, she added, “putting in street-lighting now would come at tremendous cost.”