Officials in Cavendish are disappointed after what they envisioned as a progressive solar lighting project was thwarted by thieves.

Last year, 244 solar light fixtures were installed on the Graham's Lane trail in the popular P.E.I. tourist area.

But on Tuesday, 145 of them were discovered to be stolen or vandalized.

That prompted the municipality to remove the remaining lights so they wouldn't go missing as well.

Lower heights

"It's extremely disappointing," said Matthew Jelley, chair of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico.

'It was made to be a low-impact program ... unfortunately it hasn't work out.' - Matthew Jelley

"It was made to be a low-impact program. They were low-level lights at lower heights, to be solar and to be lower maintenance, and unfortunately it hasn't work out."

Jelley said the lights were designed to be difficult to steal and removing them "would have taken a significant amount of time on multiple occasions."

He said the lights themselves were relatively inexpensive compared to the poles and labour it took to install them.

RCMP investigating

"I don't think anybody expected that anyone would go to this effort to take something that doesn't have a lot of other uses other than this."

RCMP are investing the thefts.

The municipality, meanwhile, is looking at other options for lighting the trail. And now, Jelley said, they'll also have to consider surveillance cameras.

With files from Laura Chapin