A company specializing in motion-activated lighting has approached the City of Penticton with a solution for increasing the nighttime visibility of the Kiwanis walking pier.
Late Tuesday evening, the pier was the scene of a spectacular accident that left a 28-foot cabin cruiser perched on top of the walkway. The boat’s operator said the single red light at the end of the pier didn’t give him enough warning or direction.
Chuck Loewen, the city’s general manager for facilities and recreation, said he will be meeting with the company next week to look at the suitability of their system, which uses motion sensors to detect the approach of a vehicle, increasing the lighting level on the dock the closer it gets.
The biggest problem with adding lights that are permanently on, according to Loewen, is they can be confusing for boaters.
“As well, it circumvents the rules of navigation when it comes to the red light at the end of a pier or structure. Boaters are to go to the outside of that red light, not the inside,” said Loewen, adding that any changes would have to meet with the approval of senior levels of government. “That’s why we want to make sure that whatever we do, if we do anything, is approved by the province or the feds, whoever has that jurisdiction.”
The proposed system, which would still require appropriate approval, would create a low level of light as an initial warning, intensifying in brightness and colour as the vessel approaches.
“You can dictate the strength of motion detection. It could be hundreds of yards away, or more than that,” said Loewen.
The pier itself is currently back in operation and open to the public, following some quick deck repair from the city’s facilities crews. A structural assessor was brought in from Kamloops to check for any major damage to the pier.
“They did the whole assessment after the boat was taken off and it was structurally sound. We just had to replace the cosmetic pieces,” said Loewen. The city already had plans in motion to replace the deck and railings this fall, which Loewen said will go ahead.
“We were ready to go earlier this year, but with the waterfront enhancement walkway completing their portion of work and recommencing Sept. 3, we decided to go along with that as well,” he said. While the contractor for the pier is ready to go, the work could not be completed in time for the August long weekend or Peachfest.
“Rather than disrupt the rest of the summer in putting on new railings, we’ll wait until after Labour Day,” said Loewen.