EDMONTON – It is billed as a 100 per cent donor funded, grass-roots civic campaign to light the High Level Bridge, and so far, the campaign has reached more than half its financial goal.
“The people of Edmonton never cease to amaze,” said Dave Mowat of ATB Financial. “They’ve been very generous.”
As of Friday, the Light the Bridge project had received about $1.6 million in donations, including 132 corporate donations.
“We’ve got businesses that are doing something like $50 an employee… and then we’ve got school kids who are buying $25 a light.”
“The city is just full of people like that,” added Mowat, “they hear about it, and they say ‘how can I help?’”
The organizers wanted to decorate the bridge with thousands of smart, programmable LED lights, but wanted to do it without burdening taxpayers, so they asked businesses, groups and individual Edmontonians to ‘buy a bulb.’
“Next year, Empire celebrates five decades of services in the Edmonton market,” said Ken Smoley with Empire Collision. “There’s no better time to get involved in a company-generated project like Light the Bridge. So, we’re pretty excited about it, and I’m looking forward, personally, to see what it will look like.”
Empire Collision took part in the program where local companies donate $50 per employee.
“There’s a lot of pride in it,” explained Smoley. “It’s generated by the community 100 per cent.”
That support is something that makes Edmonton a great city, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
“We want to be able to bring people to this town, to build their families, build their businesses here,” said Lindsay Dodd, chair of the Commerce. “Light the Bridge is just another element to make this a really exciting and dynamic city to work and live in.”
The lights will be individually controlled and will be able to dim, flash, glow and glitter in one or a variety of colours.
“The design calls for 60,000 LED lights – brand new, very energy efficient lights – that can actually change colour. They can sparkle, there’s a whole bunch of different effects that you can do with them, and they’ll be all over the outside of the bridge on both sides,” explained EPCOR’s Dave Hoeksema.
“There’s a program specifically for that bridge that will tell it exactly what to do. The city will have access to that, and they’ll be able to control it however they want, specifically for any type of event… you can really dictate exactly what the colour scheme on the bridge is and how the motion across the bridge is going to look like as well.”
Smoley is excited to see the finished project.
“When the Eskimos are playing, they’ll have green and gold, when the Oilers are playing, they can have their colours. It’s going to be tremendous.”
In addition to support from Edmonton companies and families, EPCOR has contributed $250,000 for design and installation. The City of Edmonton is not a financial partner, but will oversee the project.
The projected cost for the entire project is estimated to be around $3 million.
“We’re over halfway to our $3 million goal to Light the Bridge,” said Dodd on Friday. “That would pay for the lights and pay for the installation… our goal is to get to $2 million by the end of the month, by the end of October.”
Organizers hope to order the lights by month’s end and are looking forward to the next phase of the project, and the impact it will have on the city.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Hoeksema said. “I think we sometimes need to do a better job of putting this city on highlights and to make it something cool, and I think this project goes a long way in doing something really interesting and exciting that really all of our citizens will be able to enjoy.”
“I think we apologize for being dark, we apologize for our weather, but this is something that works better when it’s dark, it works better on a cold night. So I think it just fits perfect,” added Mowat.
“People want to be proud of the city, and this is going to be leading edge. There won’t be many cities in the world that can have what we have.”
For more information on the Light the Bridge project or to buy a bulb, click here.
Watch the Light The Bridge campaign video here: