Reporting a burnt out street light in White Rock
Every night after it's dark I walk my dog along Thrift Street. This summer I noticed a few streetlights were burnt out along the road. One, in particular, was at the bus stop that I catch the 351. This created a shadowy area around the stop, that could potentially be unsafe.
I decided to report this to the city, to see how one goes about getting a light fixed here in White Rock.
The city's website allows residents to email the city with concerns. I emailed on a Friday, not expecting a reply over the weekend, and heard back from the City's Operations department the next workday (Monday). The response was professional and polite but required me to return to the street light and find out if the pole was wood or metal since wood poles are handled by BC Hydro and metal ones by the city.
I replied the next day and a day later city crews had determined that the light needed replacing. The person who I was dealing with at City Hall had been keeping me well informed up until this point but after that, I heard nothing. In fact, I've still not heard anything, though a week later the light was fixed.
So the result was good, and the initial process was fine but it required more work on my part than it should have and was delayed by at least a day because of it. I was also not informed when the issue was addressed.
In Surrey and other cities, the city has an app which residents can use to report issues like burnt out street lights, potholes, broken sidewalks and other issues to City Hall. This allows immediate reporting and if there's any information needed, such as if the streetlight's poles are wood or metal, it can be included in the submission immediately.
The city also needs to adopt better public facing issue tracking procedures. If a streetlight is out then I should be able to not only report it but to see how many other people have reported it. Any resident of the city should be able to see how many reports any issue has, and how long that issue has been logged with the city.
This can be great both for city staff, allowing them more information on what they need to fix but also for residents so that we can see just how responsive the city is at addressing these issues. This information should be presented in my proposed White Rock app, via the city's website as well as available just by calling City Hall.
It's time that White Rock advanced, adopted modern issue reporting and tracking techniques and made this visible and accessible to the public. For more on this and my other policies that I hope to bring to White Rock City Council see my policies page.