Volume 95, Issue 34
Thursday, November 1, 2001
Masturbators lurk, paths remain unlit
City reluctant to install lamps
By Chris Lackner
Students should be wary of the shadowy paths surrounding Western's campus as it appears little light will be shed on them in the foreseeable future.
Brooke Wheeler, a third-year social science student, recently confronted London city council with safety concerns she has about unlit pathways in and around the university.
On Oct. 18, Wheeler said she narrowly avoided an encounter with a man dressed in black, who hid himself along the dark pathway behind the library of King's College, near University Crescent.
By crossing to the other side of the street, Wheeler managed to see someone hiding behind a utility pole, she said, noting if she had walked along the dark side of the path, she would have walked right into him.
Sandy Levin, Ward 1 city councillor and a member of London's Environment & Transportation Committee, said ETC staff will be charged with conducting a survey and providing a report pathways.
"The report will be looking at the costs involved with putting lights on all new paths which are built, as well as the potential for putting them on existing pathways," he said. "The cost of the latter could be much higher."
"No one has said this is something we should not do," he added.
The issue of liability has to be examined as well, Levin added, noting when the city plows sidewalks in the winter, they are responsible if someone falls.
The city has to examine if it has the same legal obligation if someone is assaulted under a light the city has put up for safety reasons, he said.
"This is not just a university concern it is a community concern," he explained.
Wheeler said the whole idea of putting liability over safety is staggering.
"Are they waiting for something serious to happen?," she asked.
Mike Lawless, University Students' Council president, said he does not see the liability issue as a valid argument when dealing with people's safety both on and off-campus.
He said Wheeler and other students have brought their concerns to the USC, noting the USC has passed on their own concerns to city council through Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco.
For their part, Lawless said the USC will encourage students to use Western's Foot Patrol program.
Const. Ryan Holland of London Police Force said police were confident the city would make the right decision.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001