The future of Parksville looks bright… but not too bright, on the streets anyway.
City council voted unanimously on Feb. 17 in favour of installing 3000 Kelvin streetlights throughout the city for BC Hydro’s Streetlight Replacement Project.
The original recommendation from city staff was to implement 3000K lights only along ‘urban local roads,’ and 4000K along urban arterial, urban collector, rural collector, downtown and industrial roads. However, council amended the recommendation to only 3000K for all road classifications due to concerns that 4000K would be excessively bright and unnecessary.
Mayor Ed Mayne said: “I don’t know of anybody that’s going to be playing baseball at night, so I don’t know if we need 4000K for a lighting system around town anywhere.”
Earlier this month, some residents of Qualicum Beach complained to their town council that the 4000K street lights already installed were too bright and were regarded by some as “light pollution.” One resident, Randi Stevenson, wrote a letter to council stating the lights prevented “normal night darkness” and that they affected sleep cycles.
A report presented to Parksville council by city staff, reaffirmed the project is province-wide, and that since fall last year BC Hydro has started to remind all of the province’s municipalities about their obligations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and with Federal Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Regulations. The regulations require a phasing out of products containing PCBs by Dec. 25, 2025.
At last Wednesday’s council meeting, Coun. Adam Fras asked Joseph Doxey, acting director of engineering for the city, if BC Hydro provided any options below 3000K, to which Doxy advised they did not. Fras then asked if shielding options could be considered in order to keep lights from intruding into residents’ living spaces. Doxy confirmed that shielding options could be considered by BC Hydro on a case-by-case basis if lights “bleed into cutoff areas.”
Mayne reiterated their goal was to keep the wattage down to as low as they possibly could, while still being effective and in compliance with the project.