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B.C. town rejects groundbreaking glow-in-dark road paint over price tag

Photoluminescent paint common in Europe not coming to Victoria suburb because of cost
The City of Colwood is moving ahead with a trail of reflective road markers on some city streets, but council rejected a proposed trial of glow-in-the-dark road markings over its high cost. (Black Press Media file photo)

Colwood council has rejected a glow-in-the-dark road paint trial pitched as a possible safety improvement for pedestrians over its substantial cost implications.

At its Monday (Sept. 11) regular meeting, staff pitched a trial of photoluminescent paint more common in Europe, but as of yet not used anywhere in Canada other than a trial in Quebec, which they suggested would be an effective safety improvement at dark crosswalks.

But while council initially liked the idea, and the staff suggested trial areas of Metchosin and Sooke Roads and Ocean Boulevard, that support quickly faded when the cost was revealed.

The staff report to council said a single 20-litre bucket of the specialized paint would cost $2,950 plus up to $750 to ship it from Montreal. That bucket of paint would be enough for just 250 metres of painted lines.

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“I think it’s great we investigated and considered this, but the price is hard to swallow,” said Coun. Cynthia Day, noting she would rather see that money go toward installing a new crosswalk with a signal and light.

Coun. Misty Olsen went even further with her comments.

“I think it’s irresponsible to purchase this,” she said.

A motion to approve the staff recommendation to purchase and trial the special paint failed to secure a single vote in favour.

But while Colwood won’t be seeing a photoluminescent road paint trial any time soon, motorists can expect to see more reflective markers on certain roads.

Staff also presented a recommendation for council to approve a trial road maintenance program focused on the small add-ons designed to catch and reflect car headlights, increasing lane visibility at night and in the rain, which cost around $50 each for the trial and would involve roughly 55 markers per kilometre of road. Staff highlighted to council that the costing would be worked out in more detail should the trial be deemed a success, and the decision is made to continue the practice of installing them.

Council was unanimously supportive of this staff recommendation, and the motion passed.

Staff’s exploration of potential road line visibility enhancements was sparked by residents raising concerns about the issue through multiple public feedback avenues in recent years, and improving road safety supports council’s strategic priority of mobility for residents.

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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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