It’s a Wednesday at Kaffe 1870 and Andrew Ryan opens a patio umbrella, but the Alcove resident isn’t trying to hide from the sun’s rays.
At about 11 p.m., one of Wakefield’s new streetlights is blazing onto the patio. Instead of stopping into open mike night for a drink, it feels like we’re having a morning beer with the sun hanging low in the east.
During a thunderstorm the week before, those lights temporarily went out – and everybody on the patio cheered. When Ryan opens the umbrella this week, it’s a collective sigh. We can enjoy a drink without getting a night tan.
The new “stylized” lights have drawn the ire of nighttime drivers, bikers and drunken stragglers in Wakefield, Masham and Lac des Loups, after a combined 50 orbs were planted in those three communities earlier this year. It was the municipal’s attempt to “beautify” La Peche.
They are black with hanging baskets and they suit the village just fine – in the daytime, that is.
But when the sun sets, daylight seems to rage on and the $300,000 municipal facelift is lost in the light.
On the Kaffe patio, I overheard someone say “nobody wants to be that person” who complains about progress. (Although Chelsea resident Heather Horak did just that in an article that appeared in our newspaper as a Valley Voice. It’s also posted on her blog at horaksnacks.blogspot.ca.).
But some area residents have talked about taking matters into their own hands, including tinting the bulbs and – maybe jokingly, maybe not jokingly – shooting the lights out with a pellet gun.
Hold the fire: change is coming.
La Peche Mayor Robert Bussiere agrees the lights are bright. He said he, too, has felt like he’s driving into the headlights of an oncoming car.
His advice? Don’t look directly at the lights.
“When you’ve avoiding a car, you tend not to look at them,” he told the Low Down, which seems strange advice from someone who has brought in something that’s meant to make the region, well, more pretty to look at.
The posts and flower baskets are a small step ahead for La Peche. They are a part of the PPU, a development plan for Wakefield that has been in the works for about a decade and is due to be finalized before the Nov. 3 election. These posts will – dare I say – light the way for progress in the region.
Bussiere said he’s also heard complaints from residents in all three communities and the municipality is considering solutions like a softer, more yellow bulb for the posts.
Next Kaffe open mike song request: “Blinded by the Light.”