The Town of Ladysmith is looking at giving back some of the power used during Festival of Lights with a new grant from Solar Community Program Grant.
Council debated on June 6 where the $5,000 would be best spent. They were presented with three options:
1. To use $3,000 installing solar powered hot water tanks at the Ladysmith Maritime Society with the remainder going towards signage to promote the use of solar power.
2. Investigate the potential or contribute towards buying a photovoltaic system (basically a solar generator) that would generate electricity to be fed directly into the BC Hydro grid that would offset the power used during the Festival of Lights.
3. Purchase a Big Belly trash compactor for First Avenue.
Mayor Rob Hutchins was concerned about the message of putting a large compactor on First Avenue. He said with the city pushing greener approaches, a large trash can might encourage people to throw more away.
Debate sprung up between Options 1 and 2, with Coun. Lori Evans wanting to see the money going towards installing the solar-powered hot water. She said the Festival of Lights is a set event for only a couple of months with not all businesses benefitting from the celebration. Evans said she would rather see the money spent on the new reception centre, which will bring in people all year.
Coun. Duck Paterson said there has been a count done and there are around 48,800 lights put up downtown for the festival.
Many councillors agreed this is a big public event with lots of attention and has become part of the town’s identity. Hutchins noted they’ve have been facing increasing questions throughout the last few years about the number of lights and how much power is being used during the event.
Council voted to put the $5,000 towards the Festival of Lights with Evans opposed.