City of Mount Gambier Council is in the process of upgrading lighting on its popular Rail Trail, with the installation of 160 solar lights along the trail’s 8.6km length.
Council says the project is of national significance, as it will be Australia’s largest solar lighting project, with even more lights installed than those around the Blue Lake.
The rail trail is one of Mount Gambier’s most well-used pieces of infrastructure.
Council has engaged Leadsun to install the solar lighting along the entire length of the trail.
Environmental Sustainability Officer, Aaron Izzard said the lighting project is exciting for the city.
“Locals and visitors of all ages use the Rail Trail for walking and cycling, recreation and as a transport route to and from work and school, and it’s fantastic to see that this wonderful path will now be able to be safely used at night time as well,” Mr Izzard said.
“Being active is important for physical and mental health, and this project will assist by extending the functioning hours of this valuable council asset.”
The lights are designed to come on at dusk and run for five hours at full brightness. After five hours, the lights dim but return to full brightness for 30 seconds when movement is detected, enabling the path to be utilised at night and early morning by pedestrians and cyclists.
The lights will be monitored over the internet, informing Council staff of battery and solar panel information, lighting control, operation monitoring and status.
As part of the project, Leadsun has partnered with Solar Buddy to donate 160 JuniorBuddy lights to children in Papua New Guinea who live in energy poverty and do not have access to electricity. The JuniorBuddy lights have been shown to improve health, educational, environmental, and economic outcomes for children and families who receive them.
The Rail Trail Solar Lighting Project has been co-funded by the Government of South Australia’s Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program.
The installation works are due to be completed by Christmas.