Kent Street lighting scheme

Citizens generally want their municipal government to realize better outcomes for public expenditures, given that resources in
the public sector are mostly generated through taxes (municipal, provincial, and federal).

At the same time, a municipal government must have the ability to fulfill its functions in an effective way that meets the expectations of its citizens.

An active and productive cooperation between government and citizens is one of the results of good governance.

What is governance?

Practised on a daily basis, governance is typically about
the way public servants make decisions and implement
policies.

What is good governance?

Good governance is essential for ensuring that government is allocating resources wisely and fairly, and that it is serving the public interest in an open and transparent manner — which in turn is essential for building and maintaining citizens’ confidence in the public sector.

“Good governance makes it really difficult to do the wrong thing and really easy to do the right thing.”

Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Chief Executive of Good Governance Institute, UK

Principles of Good Governance in the Public Sector

Source: Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia

Kent Street and the stewardship principle

Stewardship is the act of looking after resources on behalf
of the public and is demonstrated by maintaining or improving capacity to serve the public interest over time.

Charlottetown’s City Council fell short of the stewardship principle when it voted in favour of a proposal by Discover Charlottetown, which had been lobbying for an all-year lighting scheme on Kent Street.

The Guardian first reported on this in March, following an initial presentation by Discover Charlottetown to the Public Works & Urban Beautification Committee meeting on March 26, 2021 (sound muted until 7 minutes in). It should be noted that presenter Shallyn Murray, who works at Nine Yards Studio, which will manage the project, is a resident member of the City’s Planning Board.

The final version of the project—along with requests for financial support—was presented to the Committee on August 25, 2021.

CBC posted an article on September 17, explaining that “The marketing firm [Discover Charlottetown] is planning to install overhead cables which will run along the section of the street thatʼs between Great George and Prince streets in the cityʼs downtown.”

Here’s the kicker: “The City of Charlottetown has agreed to cover the cost of changing the decorations, which is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $40,000 per year.”

Seasonal change-out schedule for the Kent Street overhead lighting project
Source: City of Charlottetown – Monthly Council Meeting Package, Sept. 13, 2021 (p. 440)

Readers will note that the images above do not portray Kent Street.

Add to that: “The city will also pick up costs of the yearly inspection of the cable connections, which are estimated to be about $2,500.

Screen shot of Discover Charlottetown's request to City Council to consider public funding request for the Kent Street overhead lighting project
Source: City of Charlottetown – Monthly Council Meeting Package, Sept. 13, 2021 (p. 429)

City of Charlottetown Resolution to approve the Kent Street overhead lighting project

Food-for-thought questions

In terms of urban beautification, would you qualify the Kent Street overhead lighting project as effective and efficient public spending?

Do you agree with executive director of Discover Charlottetown Heidi Zinnʼs question “… what better way to market a city than create a space for people to take pictures of, that they’ll take pictures of again and again and again … ?”

If you could allocate $40,000 annually toward urban beautification, what do you believe would be worth improving or investing in, and that residents across Charlottetown could make use of all year long?

More on Governance:

Author: New Charlottetown Project

Barbara Dylla has lived in Charlottetown since 2017. The aim of this blog is to inspire and encourage Charlottetowners to be more aware of municipal affairs, to participate as engaged citizens, to support an issue close to their heart, so that together we create a sense of the larger community we live in. And, along the way, become a united community passionate about making Charlottetown the best it can be.

One thought on “Kent Street lighting scheme”

  1. Hmm I wonder if these are bird or bat friendly? I would much rather see an investment in tree planting or permeable surfaces, or almost anything green rather than gaudy artificial lighting. This is an era where climate change mitigation and adaptation are at the forefront and an investment in ecological services that also beautify the environment is forward thinking not more electrification. Wrong message.

    Like

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