Skip to content

Parksville council adds lighting project to budget, defers wetlands plan

Year-round lighting, improved Memorial Plaza display projects included
Memorial Plaza in Parksville. (City of Parksville photo)

Parksville council will defer further action on the city’s long-term wetlands plan until the Parksville Downtown Business Association lighting project is completed.

Council voted unanimously on three recommendations from its April 8 committee of the whole meeting, which also included identifying the lighting project as a high priority and allocating $10,000 in the operating budgets for the years 2024 to 2028.

Mayor Doug O’Brien said work on the Parksville Wetlands plan will not be delayed for long.

“Deferring it doesn’t mean it’s being put on a shelf, it’s just being delayed,” he said during council’s April 15 meeting.

Coun. Mary Beil said wetlands and the management plan are important for the community’s overall water management, and she is “relieved” the plan will not be deferred for long.

“This was a huge concern for me,” Beil said. “I know that we’re all quite concerned about doing the best that we can for our water management.”

The PDBA projects include making the lighting on Alberni Highway permanent, rather than seasonal, upgrading the lighting canopy at Memorial Plaza and the seasonal installation of a 28-foot Christmas tree, also in the plaza.

Beil raised several concerns about year-round lighting downtown, including potential impact on migratory birds and light pollution.

READ MORE: Parksville council plans to add downtown lighting project to budget

“The nature of these lights are particularly bright,” Beil said. “I’m thinking ‘well maybe not right now’ isn’t the same as ‘no’, considering we’ve got a lighting plan coming forward in 2025.”

She added other lights that don’t have such “a blinding effect” better align with the idea of “Dark Skies”.

O’Brien confirmed with the city’s chief administrative officer that Parksville does not have any light pollution bylaws on the books.

“I think that’s a bit of a stretch, to consider a downtown core compliant with the Dark Sky regulations or idea, per se,” he said.

O’Brien added that although the lights used on Alberni Highway are quite bright, to be cost effective the city will use the lights it has already purchased, as well as more lights, to finish the project.

Council voted unanimously on the three recommendations, and to incorporate them into the 2024 to 2028 financial plan.

The Parksville Wetlands long-term plan has gone through a public engagement process and a draft report from the consultant has been completed.

The plan for the Parksville Wetlands will include habitat improvements responsive to the site analysis, land use mapping and improvements and will incorporate feedback from the public and interested parties, according to Let’s Talk Parksville.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
Read more