THUNDER BAY -- Denis Bresolin has become wary of letting his kids walk along the County Park trail in the evenings after discovering trail lights were missing.
The city’s parks department removed 43 lights from the northside area over the past few weeks, citing safety concerns with the bases of the light poles.
However, residents and the area’s city councilor are disappointed with the lack of notification.
Bresolin said he wasn’t aware of the lights’ disappearance at first, but noticed something was different on a walk with his wife.
“This trail is used by a lot of people: everyday walkers, day, evening, skateboarders, bicyclists, and with the lights being down, it’s going to be unsafe in the evenings,” he said.
He called McIntyre Coun. Trevor Giertuga, who says it’s a transparency issue as well as a safety issue.
“[The lights] will be replaced, but unfortunately what the problem is the ministers didn’t let anyone know what was going on,” Giertuga said.
“They didn’t let the constituents know, they didn’t let city council know, and they didn’t let the city councilor for the area—my ward—they didn’t let me know.”
Werner Schwar, the park planning coordinator for the city, said the lights were removed and will eventually be replaced as part of a master plan for upgrading the lighting system on the city’s recreational trails.
“County Park was identified as one of the first areas to replace the lighting, so the lights got taken down,” he said. “There were some safety concerns when they did the assessment, and because it was the first taken down, it will be the first to be replaced.”
The County Park lights are expected to be replaced by the fall, with other priorities including the Boulevard Lake Trail, McVicar Creek Trail, McIntyre River Trail and the Neebing River Trail.
However, Bresolin says he and other community members he’s talked to about the issue will still feel unsafe while the lights are out.
Giertuga didn’t appreciate being left in the dark either.
“I wasn’t happy and the members of council weren’t happy,” he said.
“We need to know these things if it’s going to affect the community like that. Seniors, children, families, they walk that route, sometime to get groceries, not just for recreational purposes. We need to know so when we get the calls, so we’re not looking silly."