The Town of Qualicum Beach has addressed complaints of ‘light trespass’ with the installation of new B.C. Hydro LED streetlights.
In response to 124 complaints lodged by residents against the glaring lights that were installed in the community in early 2021 and spilling into their homes, modifications were made by switching the lights from 75-watt to 39-watt LED lights and changing the luminaire colour temperature from 4000K to 3000K. Lights on arterial routes were excluded from change-out.
The light replacement was initiated by the town following town council’s direction to staff to institute a formal complaint process. The first phase of accepting requests for light replacement concluded in February. The second phase ended last August.
Council had the opportunity to meet with B.C. Hydro representatives in July and were able to raise their concerns and also asked questions about conflicting information that has been circulating in the public. CAO Lou Varela highlighted some of the points discussed with B.C. Hydro at the town council’s regular meeting on Oct. 11.
Shields were often suggested by residents as a possible solution but Varela said B.C. Hydro determined that other options such as lowering wattage and colour temperature, as well as re-aiming the luminaries or moving the streetlight to another pole, were more effective in resolving most complaints.
For additional requests for solutions to light trespass beyond reduced wattage and colour temperature, Varela indicated residents would need to file a complaint to the town, which will then submit a request to B.C. Hydro’s design team, the SLIM system.
“Should further adjustments be required that council would like to consider, we would have to retain a qualified third party expert to make recommendations on adjustments to the light and submit those to the SLIM system,” said Varela. “That’s how the process would go at the cost to the town.”
Varela also informed council that BC Hydro crews are not able to make discretionary adjustments when installing the lights as this is out of the scope of their work.
“B.C. Hydro crew is not responsible for lighting design,” said Varela. “Again, the town would have to make those recommendations through the SLIM system. And B.C. Hydro would see if they’re workable.”
With the completion of the light replacement endeavor in alignment with council’s directives, residents are now encouraged to report any further light-related concerns using the streetlight reporting intake form available on the town’s website. Matters necessitating council’s attention will be scheduled for future meetings.
For more information regarding this initiative, visit https://www.qualicumbeach.com/led.