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Calgary replacing Inglewood street lamps after close call

Darian Adam and his partner were walking in Inglewood when they heard a loud bang.

After chasing the sound to its source, Adam found a collapsed street lamp, with exposed wires and broken glass. He then called the Calgary Fire Department. 

“These streets lights are very big, and I assume they’re solid steel. So if that had hit somebody or something, that’s no joke. That would really hurt someone,” Adam said.

At around 3 p.m. Monday, the Calgary Fire Department was called to a fallen street lamp along 9 Avenue SE. No one was injured, but the pole narrowly missed a cyclist and a parked car, according to people on scene

Employees at the Calgary Car Centre and Circa Vintage Art Glass in Inglewood said the toppled street lamp coincided with when wind picked up. 

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Inspecting the fallen lamp post, Adam said metal connecting the base to the pole looked paper thin. Its condition has left him wondering whether or not it was a result of a lack of city maintenance.

Adam is also concerned about the condition of other street lights and stop lights in the area.

No one was injured in the incident, but the street light narrowly missed a cyclist and a parked car. Skye Bolton/FB.

City to replace all Inglewood street lamps on 9 Avenue SE

The City has an annual inspection program in place for street light poles, based on the average age of street lights in city neighbourhoods.

A statement provided by Canace Bain, Senior Leader of Construction for the City, said they look at where poles are near roads and subject to salt spray, as that can lead to accelerated deterioration. 

Inspections are completed by an external service that uses visual and ultrasound methods to determine pole conditions.

As for Inglewood, the Calgary Roads department is inspecting street lights on 9 Avenue due to Monday’s incident.

“We anticipate inspection will be complete on all poles by tomorrow (Wednesday). Six additional poles have been removed today (Tuesday) as a precaution to ensure the safety of those travelling on 9 Avenue SE. We expect to remove more poles as inspections are completed tomorrow,” Bain’s statement read.

“The poles on 9 Avenue SE deteriorated much faster than is typical (25 years versus the typical 50 year lifespan), as the shroud at their base has been found to retain moisture. Similar poles with shrouds can be found in the community of Mission and were inspected earlier this year. Three poles in Mission were replaced this year, the rest will be replaced over the next five years.”

All poles installed in Calgary are now galvanized or powder coated in order to extend the life of the pole, according to Roads.

Taking away community character

Brian Imeson, with the Inglewood Business Improvement Area, said new Inglewood street lamps will take away from the community’s character. He’s lived in the area for around 25 years and remembers when the street lights and special garbage containers were created for Inglewood.

“The charm of Inglewood was all of our banners and our Christmas lights. Everything like that’s going to be gone. It’s basically going to look like a typical suburban residential street with normal light posts.”

“When they remove this type of a fixture that is indicative of a particular area, as a result of where we are currently in the Calgary economic climate… we’re getting nothing in return.”

Damaged street lights can be reported through the City of Calgary’s online Service Request form. That includes any street lights with broken bulbs, damaged street light poles, bases or bulb covers and other damage.