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New community group hopes to ‘light up’ Revelstoke

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society aims to purchase decorative lights for the downtown core
Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society said Revelstoke’s dark downtown core is unwelcoming. Lighting would make it more inviting and a point of interest. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

A new community group plans to brighten and make downtown Revelstoke more vibrant with new lights.

The recently established Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society, made up of volunteers, aims to purchase commercial grade, decorative lights, which would be installed and wrapped around trees and fixtures downtown and at entry points to the city. The lights would be lit year round.

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society said they would potentially follow a lighting design similar to the decorated trees in this photo. The trees are wrapped with lights with another flood light in the crown. Of particular interest is the warm yellow light in the centre. (Submitted)

The society said over the years there has been a slow deterioration for lighting in Revelstoke, resulting in an uninviting and drab downtown, particular during the winter months.

“We want to enhance downtown but not go over the top,” said society president, Mark Mckee.

Mckee was one of the driving forces behind the downtown revitalization program in the 1980s that sought to recapture and build upon the city’s Victorian architecture with fixing and painting store fronts, adding the bear statues, decorative lampposts, Rotary clock and covered bandstand.

He said the proposed lighting could be enhanced or changed for holidays. For example, on Canada Day the lights could be turned red and white.

Grizzly Plaza is cold, grey and empty in the winter, especially at Christmas when it should be alive with seasonal events and a place to gather, said the society.

Mckee said lighting downtown would hopefully bring more visitors to the main street, making people stay longer and encourage patronage to businesses and support the local economy.

The lights would be owned, maintained and installed by the city. The society aims to buy the lights and be involved with designs. The estimated cost to light 40 trees is roughly $60,000. Currently there are 23 trees in Grizzly Plaza.

The LED lights would be long lived (rated for 50,000 hours), require little power and low maintenance.

Mckee said technology has advanced significantly in recent years, making such projects cheaper and more feasible.

The society hopes to start installing lights later this year as part of the multi phase project. Eventually, the group would like to light buildings. The city said they aim to upgrade the power supply downtown to support the project.

The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce has written a letter in support of the project. It said the lighting would help achieve an element of place making which would give visitors and residents a sense of belonging to the community.

“This supports the message of, ‘You’ve arrived. You are welcome here. Stay. Visit us again.’”

The Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society is one of more than 40 programs hoping to get funds from Columbia Basin Trust, other projects include the youth program at the Alpine Club of Canada, Revelstoke Arts Council and their Art Alleries Phase 3 and a new dog park.

The Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program is one of trust’s oldest programs, which funds local projects each year.

The public is invited to submit input online for which programs should get funding.