The effects of light spill from sodium lights (left) versus LED. Image, Village of Cumberland staff report

Island community goes for less glare from streetlights

The plan for BC Hydro is to start converting lights in November

The Comox Valley community of Cumberland wants to shine some new lights on its neighbourhoods – just not too brightly.

At a recent council meeting, staff highlighted an opportunity through BC Hydro for the Village of Cumberland to replace streetlights in the community with more up-to-date lighting.

The staff recommendation was to install the 3000-Kelvin LED streetlighting in residential areas, with 4000-Kelvin along busier connector roads and intersections, as other communities have done. Kelvins are units that measure light intensity of colour temperature on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000.

The work would be part of a streetlight replacement program through BC Hydro, which encourages local governments to replace current lighting with LED lights. The utility also wants input from communities about light intensity. It provides electricity to more than 350,000 streetlights in the province, 95,000 of which it owns.

The Village has 189 of its 100W high-pressure sodium lights and 74 of the 150W wooden-pole mounted lights owned by BC Hydro. The ones on wooden poles are leased from BC Hydro, while the ones on metal bases belong to the Village, especially in new subdivisions.

“Hydro is updating these mainly because of PCBs,” the Village manager of operations Rob Crisfield told council at the Sept. 28 meeting. “There’s a bunch of other reasons as well.”

RELATED STORY: B.C. government upgrading highway lighting to LEDs on Vancouver Island

The reasoning behind the conversion to LED includes being in compliance with federal PCB regulations, energy conservation, better lighting quality and more ease for replacing fixtures. While an estimated 20 per cent of current sodium lights contain PCBs, it is not know which ones, so BC Hydro wants them all replaced.

“A few municipalities have already converted their own personal streetlights over,” Crisfield said.

LED lights have changed over the years, he added, as many earlier versions cast a blue hue. While the LED lighting is designed to meet ‘dark-sky’ requirements, only the 3000K ones are considered to be in compliance because of light colour output from the 4000K lights. These use a flat lens as opposed to a domed one, which should help prevent light spill. A Village staff report notes spill can be reduced by adjusting the angle. There are also light shields but BC Hydro does not anticipate they would be needed.

For members of council, the issue with the higher-power lights is the potential effects they may on the natural environment, specifically around insects and bat populations, along with birds and amphibians, and whether the animals might suffer from brighter lighting. Coun. Gwyn Sproule asked about language in the official community plan for ‘dark-sky’ policies to prevent light pollution, while Coun. Vickey Brown cited research that 3,000K should be sufficient for safety even on main traffic corridors.

“Light is going to have a huge impact on the insects and other creatures,” she said.

Along with using the 3000K everywhere, Brown suggested they specifically request yellow, green and amber LED lights instead of blue-white light.

“The blue-white are most harmful to wildlife,” she said. “It looks like broad daylight. I know our residents don’t want any brighter lights in their neighbourhoods.”

Mayor Leslie Baird agreed with the need to control the lighting. “The glare of the lights at night, it is disturbing…. People would like to see the glare go down a lot,” she said.

Council approved a motion for 3000K LED lights for use on both local and arterial routes and to request BC Hydro to provide yellow, green and amber hues.

The light conversion plan is for the Village to report community preferences to BC Hydro with replacement work to start in November. BC Hydro has the aim of completing all the lighting in the province by mid-2023.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BCHydro

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Cumberland is looking at replacing old streetlights. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Mom still hopeful for Island man who left care six months ago, hasn’t been seen since

Support from community, police keeps search alive for Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read