It was almost lights out for Penticton’s “Lighted Scrolls” after the city announced the holiday decorations that have hung over Riverside Drive and Skaha Lake Road for over 50 years are no longer safe.
In a Facebook post on Oct. 31, the city said a recent inspection of the scrolls had deemed them unsafe and that they would be removed in the following weeks.
According to the city’s manager of public works, Len Robson, the scrolls have a long list of concerns including, metal fatigue in the joints, heavy deterioration of the light strings due to the sun, one of the arms is at risk of failure and the light’s electrical system no longer meets current standards.
After making the announcement, residents in the community were quick to respond and demanded that the city repair the lights rather than get rid of them. A GoFundMe page was also launched and raised $200 in four days.
Many residents said they wanted to save the lights because they are an iconic part of the city and it would be a disservice to the community to not save them. Others volunteered their professional services as welders and repairmen to help fix them.
“Make them safe, so we can enjoy them for the next 50 years!” wrote Sue Gawne.
“These are part of so many people’s memories. They should be remade to look the way they are and rehung,” wrote Gena Lowe Yamamoto. “Slowly all of these iconic symbols that truly make Penticton what it was are disappearing. It’s very, very sad. Please reconsider…”
Due to the overwhelming response, the city updated its original response to said for the time being the lights would be stored and not disposed of.
This was also backed by city council on Nov. 5 when councillors voted unanimously to direct staff to contact the petition organizers and provide them with the opportunity to do the necessary repair work.
In the mean time, city staff said new Christmas lights will be installed along Main Street and the 200 block of Martin Street for the Christmas season.
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