ORANGE’S main street has been plunged into darkness over the last few nights, increasing the potential for crime, jeopardising pedestrian safety and leaving business owners frustrated.
Orange City Council, the body which manages the fluorescent lighting under awnings in the central business district which have failed to come on, is investigating the problem.
Last night council staff worked to determine the cause of the outage and monitor the problem.
On Friday morning the Central Western Daily contacted the head of the community safety committee Cr Glenn Taylor asking for an explanation of why the lights were out in the main street on Thursday and he contacted council employees to see if they could pinpoint the problem.
The lights did not come on at dark on Friday leaving footpaths, businesses and late trading hotels in the dark again.
However the lights were on as normal on Saturday night, but the main street was dark again on Sunday with pedestrians relying on the overhead neon signs out the front of some shops, to provide limited lighting.
Licensee of the Royal Hotel Tony McClure said he has called council several times over the last few months because lights in the street were not coming on at dark at different times.
“It is just so frustrating particularly for licensed premises where we have to operate under fairly strict guidelines,” he said.
“I just can’t seem to get an answer about what is going on and then yesterday [Monday] the lights came on at 4am,” he said.
Canobolas Local Area Command Inspector Peter Atkins said adequate lighting was an important tool for police to be able to carry out their duties effectively.
“Good lighting is an important aspect of getting quality CCTV footage,” he said.
Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the lighting problem would be closely monitored by council.
“It could be a problem with the timer switch, but we have yet to determine that,” he said.
The lack of lighting was compounded in the top block, between Anson and Sale Streets, by two overhead street lights, managed by Essential Energy, that were not working on the weekend.
In a community safety audit carried out in Orange in 2008, effective lighting in the central business district was identified as a key to deterring crime and increasing the community’s perception of safety.