A handful of Nathalia residents are challenging the Moira Shire over plans to change the facade of 30-year-old decorative lights on the main street.
The council said Blake St was undergoing a street light renewal program because some of the street lights were not working.
In order to reduce current and ongoing costs, the council is requesting Powercor progressively replace all 22 street lights with standard fittings.
‘‘Powercor, who maintain all streetlights, have notified us the street lights are non-standard and therefore take a long time and a large sum of money to source and replace’’ Mayor Libro Mustica said.
Nathalia resident and ‘‘Save our lights in Nathalia’’ facebook page founder, Leanne Pell, said residents in Nathalia wanted the decorative lights.
‘‘They’re old, but they’re our brand,’’ Mrs Pell said.
‘‘We want the heritage lights to remain because hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent years ago, we don’t want industrial-looking lights.’’
The only suitable, non-standard fitting available to the markets costs about $3500 per fitting, council said.
‘‘Replacing all 22 non-standard street lights along Blake St will therefore cost council approximately $77000,’’ Cr Mustica said.
‘‘Standard light fittings on the other hand are replaced by Powercor at almost no cost to council.’’
Mrs Pell said the lights held significant historical value to residents of the town, but she was more frustrated with the lack of consultation.
‘‘There’s been no consultation,’’ she said.
‘‘Cobram have heritage lights in town, Yarrawonga have heritage lights down at Silverwoods — would this happen to them?’’
Last week, Powercor workers were seen trialling one of the new industrial-style lights in Blake St, unbeknownst to the council and much to the frustration of Mrs Pell.
Moira Shire general manager for community Sally Rice said the trial initiated by Powercor caught the council by surprise.
‘‘This is a project that’s been initiated by Powercor,’’ Ms Rice said.
‘‘They’re doing a trial of an LED light, which they’ve installed on a standard pole to see if it’s suitable and to see how it looks.’’
Ms Rice said the trial would give the community and idea of the alternative option suggested and added ‘‘we are continuing to look at options available’’.
‘‘The council is receiving feedback in an informal way, we haven’t been seeking community comments,’’ she said.
‘‘But we’ve been hearing community comments and we’re telling people that we’re considering all the options, researching every avenue.’’
Ms Rice said the council was continually looking at ways of cutting costs and being more energy efficient.
‘‘There are strong environmental drivers in improving energy, there are benefits in the proposed changes and we’ve got to weigh up our options,’’ she said.
Anyone with queries regarding the proposal can phone Moira Shire on 58719222 or email [email protected]