Wodonga council plans expansion of solar pathway network

Wodonga council plans expansion of solar pathway network as the number of people walking increases 

With more people walking and 31% of people walking more than usual during COVID-19 the Wodonga Council is doing what more councils are being urged to do – invest in solar pathway lighting. 

Victoria Walks Executive Officer Ben Rossiter is heading up the campaign to call on councils across Victoria to apply for their share of Government Safety Grants available to help fund lighting projects. 

“Since mid-March, Victoria Walks has seen exponential growth in the number of Victorians looking for great, safe places to walk,” Dr Rossiter said. 

Since 2018 Wodonga Council has led the way installing solar lighting across kilometres of popular pathways including at Birallee Park, David Bishop Park, Arthur Dunstan Park, Frank Kier Park, George Looms Park, Westlands Park, James Taverny Park and Belvoir Park. 

Melbourne-based Leadsun, a world leader in solar public lighting and an associate member of Victoria Walks, has worked with Wodonga Council to install the lighting which has made pathways more accessible and helped improve safety. 

Managing Director Matt Pollard said with the increase in local exercise and people out walking, community groups and residents are urging their local councils for improvements to pathways and trails. 

“Many of the recreational trails where people love to walk are in areas where you can’t get traditional street lighting in or it’s too expensive to even try,” Mr Pollard said. 

“In most cases, people either won’t use the path before dawn or after dark, or they’ll walk with an iPhone or torch to try to see where they’re going. One for one, solar lighting is more cost effective than traditional electrical public lighting as there’s no need for extensive trenching, no electrical wiring and the power stores in the battery for three days.” 

Wodonga Council said the rollout of the solar lighting project enhanced the extensive pathways network that was well-used by the community. 

“The solar lighting project is an initiative that aims to enhance personal safety, deter antisocial behaviour and create improved levels of connectivity in the community,” a Council spokesperson said.