LIGHT SAGA: Cr Glenda Mather with Reef Street residents Kevin and Sharyn Cowan and Jenny and Graham Pocklington.
LIGHT SAGA: Cr Glenda Mather with Reef Street residents Kevin and Sharyn Cowan and Jenny and Graham Pocklington.

New light shed on Reef St saga

THERE is light at the end of the tunnel for troubled Reef Street residents – the problem is no-one knows how long the tunnel is.

New information came to hand on the long-running problem street light saga which has plagued a handful of Zilzie residents for years.

They have campaigned unsuccessfully to get something done about a ­­“brighter-than-normal” street light in Reef St which they say keeps them awake at night.

Late last year ­streetfighting councillor Glenda Mather went into bat for the residents, even ­criticising Livingstone Shire Council’s handling of the complaint, but until this week no meaningful answers had been forthcoming.

A council meeting last week was told that up to 70 per cent of the luminaires which make up Livingstone’s street lighting network contained mercury vapor bulbs which were no longer produced.

Councillors were informed that Ergon had identified this issue, and was rolling out an Ergon-funded annual ­program to replace all mercury vapor bulbs with LED ­luminaires.

They were told that Ergon had advised the council that replacement of luminaires in Reef Street would be part of its 2019-20 program “but at this stage are unable to provide any more precise timing.”

On the back of Cr Mather “kicking up a fuss”, council ­officers asked Ergon what costs would be involved in bringing forward replacement of the luminaire at 35 Reef St and the earliest that such works could be undertaken.

Ergon told the council a one-off replacement would cost an estimated $1500 and would require Livingstone to formally apply, and pay for, such work to be carried out.

Works would likely then be completed in six months.

Council officers also asked Ergon about possible “shading” of the current luminaire at 35 Reef St until such times that LED replacement was undertaken.

Ergon advised that the only type of “shield” it had that suited the mercury vapor luminaire fitted to the back of the light.

As such, because the issue was with the customers across the road, this shield would not solve the problem.

The dilemma then facing the council, was should it stump up about $1500 through its urban operations budget for a one-off change of luminaire to LED ahead of Ergon’s replacement program doing just that.

The council did not commit to anything and for now, the affected residents of Reef St continue to wait.

After this week’s council meeting, Cr Mather said the situation was “a joke, but in all seriousness there is nothing funny about it.”

“This issue has been affecting the health of residents for years and we can’t even make a decision on a light bulb,” she added.

“We would have spent more than $2000 talking about it.”



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