LETTER: Sooke needs ‘Dark Sky Bylaw’


We who are so fortunate to call Sooke our home have a responsibility to defend and champion this unique locale. You and I live in a place where, on a clear night, one can still see a sky full of stars.

To ourselves, we have an obligation to our loved ones and to the entire web of life that depends upon it – to safeguard this precious night vista.

Cities have so much light pollution that people yearn for the experience of seeing the night sky in its full glory.

Light pollution affects many animals as it interferes with the crucial role of a healthy circadian rhythm. Artificial light even disrupts nocturnal pollination networks and has negative consequences for plant reproductive success. Light pollution harms insect life, which affects the lives of birds and other animals that feed on insects.

A night sky is a distinction that can be a valuable asset for all tourism industry sectors. Every bed and breakfast, every fishing and whale-watching charter, every hotel, every restaurant, every ecotourism company can benefit from such.

There are innovative solutions that can even save taxpayers money, such as following the examples of locations in Norway and Israel that have modified some of their street lighting to be radar-controlled. The radar detects traffic along the route and its speed. The lights are then increased to full brightness in the vehicle’s path from 20 percent of the total output’s default illumination.

Let the District of Sooke know that you want it to initiate a “Dark Sky Bylaw” for our community. The district should work towards acquiring status as a certified International Dark Sky Reserve. This will allow tourism businesses in Sooke to include this designation in their promotional literature.

Oliver Hockenhull



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