Local efforts light up Central Saanich’s Mt. Newton Cross Road

Safety campaign organizers hope reflective vests are returned so others can use them too.

Megan Ereiser

A safety campaign has shed light on Mt. Newton Cross Road in Central Saanich.

The contract award was given to Raylec Power LP by the District of Central Saanich recently to design, supply and install LED lights along the 2100-2400 Block of Mt. Newton Cross Road.

B.C Hydro was also able to help out the District.

“BC Hydro was able to actually install some lights that have already been put in there prior to this happening, so we were actually able to save a fair bit of money on that,” said Superintendent of Public Works, Norman Doerksen.

The installation of lights came after the death of Suzanne Gillespie, who had a heart attack on that stretch of road in February and was subsequently hit by a driver who didn’t see her.

Following her death, in an effort to provide more safety on that road, Central Saanich resident Megan Ereiser began a petition calling for better lighting along the road to help keep pedestrians safe.

Ereiser presented the petition of a few hundred signatures to the District of Central Saanich earlier this year.

“So it’s pretty devastating to have a heart attack and be in the middle of the road and then get run over, so I feel sad for the family. It’s disappointing for sure,” said Ereiser.

She also started a reflective vest project with Samantha Hunt where she supplied vests in a bin near the place where Gillespie was killed. The effort, she said, is to encourage pedestrians walking at night to be seen.

The bin, which had a sign on it telling people to return the vests when done with them, saw vests disappear in less than two weeks.

“No one put them back, they just took them,” she said. “They were gone and I don’t have any more and I’ve been thinking about collecting the bins because they’re just sitting there now empty.”

The new installation of LED lights will be located between East Saanich Road and the Pat Bay Highway. This also includes a couple of respite benches, which council decided on at a previous meeting.

“We’ll probably see contractors out there within the next couple weeks starting at least doing the poles and stuff,” said Doerksen.

He said there is still a bit of a preliminary design work on the lighting that has to be done, but once that’s complete, work will be commencing for the next month, with a plan to be completed soon after.

The respite benches, provided by the District, will be going in on that timeline too and they are working with transit on a bus stop replacement program, looking at doing some bus stop enhancement in a couple of locations through a program they have. Details are still pending on the location.