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City of Nanaimo adding lighting and security measures at Caledonia Park

Finance committee recommends $111,000 to install light poles that the city already owns
Lighting will soon illuminate the fields and buildings at Caledonia Park, allowing for nighttime sports activities and better security for the park’s buildings and facilities. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)

Caledonia Park and its sports field is about to become a brighter and more secure place.

At a finance committee meeting Wednesday, July 19, Richard Harding, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, asked for councillors’ approval to add lights on the east and west side of the park field for nighttime practice sessions and security lighting.

The park is the practice field for the V.I. Raiders junior football team, which has been the victim of several incidents of theft and vandalism, including suspicious fires, in recent years. All the buildings on the site have been broken into at least once in the past year.

Harding asked for the $111,000 cost of the project to be added to the city’s 2023-2027 financial plan with the money drawn from the strategic infrastructure reserve fund.

The proposal calls for six light poles, three on each side of the field. The poles and lighting hardware were salvaged from Harewood Centennial Park when they had to be removed to start the artificial turf field project.

“I know it’s a mid-budget time to for a project like this, but we have an opportunity to have these poles and lights up for the park prior to the fall practice schedules and the change of light,” Harding said.

READ ALSO: RCMP investigates as Nanaimo football team targeted by thieves

Coun. Paul Manly said he supports to project, though he wondered if more lighting could also be added to illuminate some of the buildings on the site.

“I see that there’s security lighting on the concession area and the washrooms, but not on the locker room and not on the tower, so I’m wondering about adding those items,” he said. “I notice that some of these break-ins that the Raiders have experienced are fairly sophisticated operations and involved trucks and stealing of gear that somebody would have to have some kind of inside line on selling … it’s very specialized equipment that’s been stolen and I’m wondering about the installation of alarms where the equipment is stored to ensure that they don’t have to keep on going through this.”

Harding said the city is working with the football team on security measures including alarms and potentially surveillance cameras.

“We do think there’s a phased approach to this. Getting some practice lighting and security lighting on the field and having some directional lighting off the poles to the change rooms – and it can also be to the tower – will be of assistance,” Harding said. “We will look at some continued options to light up the other facilities as we can.”

The project was recommended unanimously.

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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