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Campbell River resident calls for city to regulate ‘nuisance lighting’

Neighbours’ dispute installation of bright lights
The online streaming of Campbell River City Council’s Jan. 11 regular meeting broadcast this picture resident Paula Bourque had submitted illustrating a neighbour’s light shining on her house. City of Campbell River webcast screenshot

Good fences may make for good neighbours but bright lights don’t seem to.

In fact, one Campbell River resident wants the city to consider creating a new bylaw for nuisance lighting.

The call came from Willow Point resident Paula Bourque who asked city council to implement such a bylaw after she took her dispute with a neighbour over their bright lights to the Thursday, Jan. 11 council meeting.

“With a new age of LED and halogen lighting, this has become a homeowner issue, especially if houses are close in proximity with no fencing or shrubbery in between,” Bourque, who appeared as a delegation to the Jan. 11 meeting, told council. “It has become an issue in my life where the neighbor’s garage side entrance door and my bedroom window on the house are in close proximity.”

Bourque’s neighbour has recently installed a 500 watt “spotlight” that she says is aimed at her bedroom window and also installed a 40,000 lumens LED floodlight that she says is aimed at the side of their house.

In her presentation she showed a picture of the side of her house and said, “You can see the entire side of our house is lit up and the neighbour behind us as well.”

“His yard and chicken coop are lit up too,” she said. “Chickens don’t lay eggs if they can’t sleep. People can’t sleep either.”

Bourque said she and her neighbour have settled some issues in dispute with the help of bylaw enforcement officers but “because there is no bylaw for nuisance lighting, he (the bylaw officer) cannot assist us with this issue.”

So, Bourque is proposing a bylaw for nuisance lighting. Bourque says she has involved the RCMP in her dispute but was told by the police that they can’t force someone to take the light down, only ask them to, because there is no bylaw.

Bourque included a Vancouver Sun article on a similar situation in the City of Vancouver where the situation was having an impact on residents’ mental and physical health. Vancouver has a bylaw regulating untidy premists that has been amended to include private property with nuisance odor and nuisance outdoor lighting that interfres with a “neighbour’s peace and enjoyment of their own homes.”

Like the Vancouver situation, Bourque said she is being affected by her situation, becoming stressed and anxious and losing sleep.

Council referred Bourque’s request to staff to come back with a report.