If you’ve been across the Bastion Street Bridge in Nanaimo at night recently you would’ve noticed all ten lights that normally light it aren’t working.
Nanaimo resident Robin Hutchinson walked across the bridge at night last week and says he felt less safe.
“There’s not a lot of other light than from the highway and it’s a bit spooky,” said Hutchinson.
The City of Nanaimo says its electrical contractor first got a report on January 23 or 24 that the lights on the Bastion Street Bridge were off.
“Upon investigation of the matter, they discovered that all the wiring and the ductwork underneath the bridge that feeds the lighting circuit had been removed or destroyed,” said David Thompson, City of Nanaimo’s Manager of Roads & Traffic Services.
The City suspects it was removed for the value of the copper wiring.
Nanaimo RCMP says they don’t believe the theft was reported to them and the City is checking between departments to see whether they filed a police report. Regardless the city says it intends to take measures to ensure the theft isn’t repeated.
“Initial estimates are somewhere between $12,000 to $15,000 to replace what was damaged but we’re going to take the opportunity to make improvements at this point in time so we can prevent similar losses in the future,” said Thompson.
This isn’t the first time the city has suffered stolen lighting wiring. In 2020 someone ripped out the copper wiring for the lights at Merle Logan fields at Beban Park, at an estimated replacement cost of $20,000.
Days after Sharkie Joe Whalen was arrested while stripping the wire within Beban Park but police couldn’t prove he stole the wire. He was sentenced this past November 12th on a charge of possessing stolen property and handed a one-year probation order. One of the conditions is to remain at least 25 metres from the Merle Logan fields.
Nanaimo residents say it’s unfortunate to see a similar theft.
“It’s really sad that it happened. I know we’ve had problems like this before and I haven’t heard anything for a while and I don’t know really what you can do about it but we need the lights for safety,” said Margaret Dyke, a Nanaimo resident.
The city says the copper wiring will also be replaced with aluminum wiring which holds a lot less value.