Light pollution is becoming a concern in parts of the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter raised the matter at the RDN board meeting on Feb. 8. She made a motion that the board direct staff to provide information on how to create a dark skies bylaw for her area.
Salter said bright lights impacted wildlife in the area.
“Juvenile salmon are attracted to the LED lights and when that happens at night they become vulnerable to predators.”
Salter also cited other negative impacts of light pollution.
“Insects for instance that used to be attracted to the old lights, breeder bats would wait for that and that would be their mealtimes,” said Salter. “When the lights switched to LED they lost that food source… we just want to go with dark skies at this time and try not to pollute the environment any more than we already have.”
The motion received support from other members of the board, including Nanaimo director Cheryl Armstrong.
“I have done a lot of research on this,” Armstrong said. “The AMA is reporting very negative effects on cataracts and eyes as well as European authorities are warning against LED lights. When you start to get the major medical associations talking about the negative health consequences and also the wildlife associations, I think it’s very important that we start looking at it. I am a hundred per cent in favour.”
The RDN board unanimously endorsed Salter’s motion.
The intrusion of bright lights has also been a hot topic of discussion in the Town of Qualicum Beach and City of Parksville.
Qualicum Beach council received complaints from residents about glaring lights keeping them awake overnight.
Parksville council also had to dealt with many complaints about the bright lights. To address the concerns, council opted to go for 3000K for all its streetlights in conjunction with the BC Hydro’s streetlight replacement project, which aims to phase out products containing PCBs by Dec. 25, 2025.