Thunder Bay has started to upgrade the lighting on the city’s recreational trail network.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the city’s Parks Division said it has identified six priority areas in Thunder Bay, with County Park being one of the highest priority areas for replacement due to safety concerns with corroding metal bases and leaning concrete footings.

About 40 poles and fixtures have already been removed in County Park from Wardrope Avenue to the north and County Boulevard to the south, east and west.  Replacement lighting is expected to be installed this fall.

"We do have some budget set aside now, and we're going to do as much [as we can] with that. And then, once that's used up, new areas will be lit or re-lit,” said Werner Schwar, co-ordinator of park planning.

"We've identified where all our fixtures are and where the priority areas are to light that haven't been lit. And, we've identified six areas that are highest in priority for either changing the fixtures that are there now or creating new ones."

The trail areas to be addressed include:

  • County Park Trail (43 existing lights)
  • Boulevard Lake Trail (224 existing lights)
  • McVicar Creek Trail  between County Boulevard and Hinton Ave (eight existing tunnel lights)
  • McVicar Creek Trail between River and Cumberland Street (15 existing lights)
  • McIntyre River Trail between Lakehead University and Confederation College
  • Neebing River Trail between Wolverine Crescent and Parkway Drive

The work is being done by Hatch Mott MacDonald.

Part of the plan involves switching light types to LED and standardizing poles, fixtures and bases for reduced energy consumption and maintenance savings. Fixtures will also be standardized with the new roadway lighting replacement program being undertaken by the Roads Division, the city reported.

Schwar said he anticipates it will take a few years to get all of the work done.

In the meantime, “as daylight decreases and darkness occurs earlier in the evening, the Parks Division encourages trail users to use the road network of County Boulevard during darkness until the lights are replaced, as this roadway has lighting and sidewalks and roughly parallels the trail system,” the city news release stated.