Qualicum Beach residents dealing with street light glare shining into their homes have banded together to form a group to relay a stronger message for council to address the issue.
The Qualicum Beach Streetlights Group aims to engage the town and BC Hydro to resolve the light spillage, trespasses and glare impacting the lives of residents.
The co-ordinator of the group, Laurie Sieber, said they have been trying to get the town to address this issue since 2021.
“The purpose is to combine these efforts to be heard,” said Sieber. “Together, it is more likely we will have a resolution.”
Sieber said she, like many others, has had to endure the bright lights that shine like a spotlight on her home.
“The LEDs chosen are top brightness and intensity, and are not recommended for residential areas,” said Sieber. “There are LED light modifications available to the Town and BC Hydro that could focus the light on the street, and not homes and yards of residents.”
Sieber said the problem is not isolated in just one location of the town.
The town had opted to increase the wattage of its street lights for safety reasons, town engineer Bob Weir said to council in April of 2021. He was against downgrading of lighting, particularly on the town’s arterials and collector roads.
Sieber called the safety issue rationale a “red herring tactic.”
“This particular rollout of new replacement street lights by BC Hydro was only for 550 lights in our town,” said Sieber. “Nothing in Eaglecrest, nothing in Chartwell. It’s not the whole town. Lots of different places in town has many different kinds of lights and there’s no safety issue there.”
She also pointed out some of Qualicum Beach’s busiest non-residential arterial roads have long stretches without any lights at all.
Sieber said Qualicum Beach is not the only one fighting for dark sky preservation, which means lower level of lighting.
“They’re asking for that in Errington and Coombs through the Regional District of Nanaimo,” said Sieber. “The City of Nanaimo is doing lower light.”
Sieber said their group hopes the new council will address this issue at its first regular meeting of 2023 on Jan. 18. They’ve forwarded their concerns to council and hope a decision will be made.
The group is inviting people in the community to join their engagement effort. Sieber asks residents to send an email to QBStreetlights@gmail.com to elaborate their specific concerns.