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Winnipeg decides to accept gifted flashing school zone lights four years later

Winnipeg's City Hall has decided accept a local man's donation of flashing solar-powered amber lights for every school zone. Angie Mellen / Global News

Flashing amber lights will soon be set up in school zones across Winnipeg at next to no cost to taxpayers, some four years after a man offered to supply the lights and set them up for free.

Chuck Lewis, owner of Expert Electric, said his offer was originally rejected back in 2017, but he kept asking, until he got the attention of councilor Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) who put forward the motion last year that would eventually work its way through city bureaucracy and result in Friday’s announcement.

READ MORE: Winnipeg dawdles on offer of free amber school zone lights: ‘It makes no sense at all’

“It’s a great agreement to get into with the City of Winnipeg, and I’m really happy they went forward with it,” said Lewis.

“It’s really about the safety of the kids.”

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Lewis says the long-awaited agreement will see he and his team install two pairs of the solar-powered lights for each school, and take care of maintenance for the following five years.

READ MORE: Winnipeg councillor throwing support behind free lights-in-school-zones idea

Despite the fanfare, the deal technically won’t be finalized for at least another 30 days, after the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development moved to grant an extension so the Public Service can report back with the final terms and conditions, although it’s all but certain to go through.

If the City were to decide two beacons for a particular school zone aren’t enough, it would be responsible for putting up the rest.

Lewis says the City will decide where the lights will go first, and providing a three month trial run goes off without a hitch, he and his team will then move on to setting up the rest.

READ MORE: Frustrated Winnipeg electrician installs flashing school zone lights himself

“I didn’t think it would take this long to be quite honest,” said Coun. Klein.

“But that’s water under the bridge, let’s move forward now, get these lights up so people know when they’re driving in a school zone.”

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Lewis says were he to charge for the lights, it would cost between $6,000 and $7,000 per school zone.

Click to play video: 'Frustrated Winnipeg electrician installs flashing school zone lights himself' Frustrated Winnipeg electrician installs flashing school zone lights himself
Frustrated Winnipeg electrician installs flashing school zone lights himself – Feb 6, 2020

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