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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A 5-2 majority of Sidney councillors voted against trimming the 2021 draft budget off $30,000 earmarked in part for the search of pickleball specific courts in Sidney. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney serves up $30,000 toward search for, design of pickleball courts

Coun. Scott Garnett urges action as majority defeats motion to strike funding from budget

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read