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 lumens is from 3,000.

“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 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

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Sale of oceanfront property in Metchosin yields new record for Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch sold to an undisclosed buyer

The price of gas is way up in many parts of Greater Victoria after a Monday afternoon surge sent it to 162.9 cents per litre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gas prices surge to 162.9 cents a litre at some Greater Victoria stations

Prices jumped up more than 10 cents Monday afternoon

Mieran Loira, who works at Moxie’s restaurant on Yates Street, was named a winner in the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s #StandUpForService campaign. (Courtesy Town Hall Brands)
Victoria Moxies server can’t hide her smile, earns provincial kudos for pandemic work

Personality, charisma shine despite masks, coronavirus challenges

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Influx of skilled tradespeople falling behind Greater Victoria construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Research into the city of Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic shows things to be moving in the right direction. (Photo courtesy City of Victoria)
Data shows Victoria experiencing gradual economic recovery

Statistics for early 2021 show promising returns as Victoria 3.0 begins to take hold

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read