The Ballarat City Council will consider lighting up part of the Lake Wendouree foreshore for a 12-month trial period, amid calls to extend use of the popular Steve Moneghetti Track after dusk.
The proposed trial project would see three pole mounted lights and five bollard lights installed on the western side of thee lake near the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, operating between 5am and 11pm daily.
Councillors are due to vote on the initiative at tonight’s ordinary meeting at the Ballarat Town Hall.
Ballarat City councillor Amy Johnson said she called for the trial earlier this year and was inundated with feedback from recreational users of the area.
“There’s been a lot of interest from users to extend the hours the track can be used as a recreational venue,” she said.
“It extends the hours that this really great community asset can be used. Especially in winter, it doesn’t get light until quite late in the morning.”
The council would receive a report at the end of the trial and if successful, the scheme could potentially be widened to light up the entire length of the six kilometre track.
But doing so would come at at cost.
Three options identified in a report by council officers would require significant installation costs ranging from $600,000 to more than $1,500,000 to light the length of the six kilometre path.
The ongoing costs for electricity usage and maintenance would also be “significant”.
Cr Johnson said the council was proposing a low-cost trial in order to get input from recreational users and nearby residents.
“If the community is supportive of the initiative they can advocate to the council to extend the whole way around if this is what they want to do,” she said.
The report being considered by the councillors said lighting had the potential to attract greater numbers and more species of birds to the lake, which could lead to issues for nearby residents.
There were also potential issues for fish stock and the root systems of trees surrounding the lake.
Cr Johnson said she initially advocated for renewable energy lighting options, but they were deemed too costly and not practical for parts of the tree-lined foreshore.