A comparison between sodium lights and LED lights, which the Town of Qualicum Beach has choses for its streetlights to make it safe for motorists. (Submitted photo)

A comparison between sodium lights and LED lights, which the Town of Qualicum Beach has choses for its streetlights to make it safe for motorists. (Submitted photo)

‘High-beam monsters’ bring ‘bright lights, big city’ problems to sleepy Qualicum Beach

Brightness of LED streetlights blamed for keeping people awake, causing nightmare for residents

“High-beam monsters” are causing nightmares in Qualicum Beach.

Some residents in Qualicum Beach report struggling to get much-needed sleep at night and blame LED lights the town uses to illuminate the streets and other parts of the community.

One resident, Randi Stevenson, wrote a letter to raise concerns with town council.

“I realized our streetlights may have been considered too dim in the past but when did we get these new high-beam monsters installed?” Stevenson asked. “I can no longer experience normal night darkness and they are truly affecting my sleep cycle.”

Stevenson requested the town tone down the brightness, turn them off or dim them through the overnight hours.

“The light well extends into my home now… and I can no longer enjoy stargazing from my deck at night due to the glaring lights in my eyes,” Stevenson said. “I moved from the big city to be closer to nature and this one small change has taken that away.”

Coun. Teunis Westbroek has also received emails from other residents complaining about the bright lights which he regards as “light pollution.” Residents have asked him if there was a way the town could retrofit the lights and go from 4,000 lumens to 3,000 lumens. He asked staff if this was possible.

Director of engineering Bob Weir explained to council at its regular meeting on Feb. 3 that when they decided to replace the old sodium lights with LED ones 12 years ago, it was mainly for safety reasons.

“The research definitely shows that its a higher quality of light and there’s a 30 to 40 per cent increase in distances on which drivers can recognized hazards,” said Weir.

Going down to 3,000 lumens will not make a big difference said Weir, who presented council an image that showed how much brighter 4,000 Kelvin is from 3,000K.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that significant to deal with all the concerns people are dealing with,” said Weir. “You can change every light in town overnight and there would be very little perception of the difference.”

Weir also added BC Hydro does not offer shielding for the lights, which some residents have suggested. He pointed out replacing the lights will also come a cost and questions who will pay for them as the town has not budgeted for such a move.

READ MORE: Old Qualicum College building to be demolished, replicated by property developer

“Everybody wants progress but nobody wants change,” said Weir. “As far as the 4,000 temperature lights in private subdivisions, every new subdivisions that we’ve done in the last while has 4,000-watt LED street lighting. And we have received zero complaints about that light.”

Westbroek said he would still like to find out from staff how much it would cost to retrofit the lights for the benefit of residents who want them replaced.

“There might not be some appetite for it but this is for people who would like to consider that option, then we have that information,” said Westbroek.

Coun. Scott Harrison said changing lights on busy streets will create safety issues, especially for seniors.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

qualicum beach

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of three Sooke men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

G.P. Vanier in Courtenay has six members of the community who have tested positive; Island Health identified seven staff and 78 students who will be required to self-isolate. Black Press file photo
Eight sick, 108 more isolating in Comox Valley school district due to COVID-19

District says that all who tested positive did not contract COVID-19 within the school sites

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read