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EDITORIAL – BC Hydro better have some bright ideas on those blinding LED lights

(Image: BC Hydro)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ANYBODY WHO’S EVER DRIVEN into the piercing glare of LED headlights on an oncoming vehicle knows the problem with LED. They may last longer and be energy efficient but they cause all kinds of problems.

One is the blinding brightness of those headlights, which is equally an issue with street lights. In one Kamloops-area neighbourhood, residents had to choose between lighting up their community mailboxes to provide convenience and safety, and leaving them dark.

With LED lighting the federally mandated option, they chose darkness rather than the intense disruption of LEDs, which stands for light-emitting diodes.

Another Kamloops resident describe the LED lighting installed in front of his home as “living with a searchlight shining in my windows.”

There are other issues with LEDs. Besides the overbearing brightness, some research has shown that LED lighting may be harmful to human health, including interfering with sleep because it hampers production of melatonin and messes with circadian rhythms.

One body of opinion contends they can cause retinal damage.

The good news is that LED lighting can be adjusted to proper levels. So, while replacing troublesome LEDs with inoffensive ones might be expensive, it’s not complicated and doesn’t involve a bunch of retro-fitting.

The installation of LED lighting in the downtown core has been going on for more than a dozen years, and in neighbourhoods since 2012. At least some of them can be dimmed remotely.

Current attention to LEDs has come from residents in the Sagebrush neighbourhood who are complaining that the lights being installed there are way too bright and intrusive. Kind of like having those super bright car headlights shining through their windows.

They want a moratorium on their installation, a reasonable request.

City Hall hasn’t been impressed with BC Hydro’s reaction to such concerns and council is looking at calling Hydro on the carpet to explain. Hydro better have some bright ideas.\

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8893 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – BC Hydro better have some bright ideas on those blinding LED lights

  1. Jon Thomas // March 29, 2022 at 7:54 PM // Reply

    This is a ridiculous editorial. Pretty hard to find a home without tons of LED lighting indoors but somehow LED streetlights are a threat to health. Also I bet you couldn’t distinguish LED headlights from xenon or other HID headlights.

  2. John Noakes // March 15, 2022 at 6:44 AM // Reply

    I am waiting to see what kind of lighting and how much lighting for security will be put in place at the new homeless shelter at Kingston Ave.
    Although a local ecosystem, certain birds and animals (both daytime and nocturnal in their activity) have lived in the area of Kingston Ave. and Westmount Park up to this point where there is a defining line for daylight and darkness.
    If bright LED lights are installed for security, will the wildlife be adversely affected? Will the residents be affected by bright LED lights through the night?

    Perhaps those who voted for this location would have done so after educating themselves about this matter. Mayor and council; please, your input.
    Jen Fretz has stated that shields installed on the LED lights is the answer. She was once the Environmental Services manager for the City. She might have some input on the environmental effects of bright LED lights.

    Rick Howie might be a good resource person on this one, Mel.

  3. Christopher Ortner // March 14, 2022 at 7:33 PM // Reply

    Thank you for the support, Mel!

  4. R Marcus Lowe // March 14, 2022 at 10:33 AM // Reply

    A transport truck came down the long hill into Ashcroft. It was flashing strobe-light LED headlights. The consequences of this could easily be deadly to people who have medical conditions that make them vulnerable. I think this sort of thing is stupid, crazy, and when deliberate, the deepest sort of sickness because it is one of the techniques historically used in torture. What do you think? Respectfully Submitted, R. M. Lowe

  5. Light “pollution” like noise “pollution” are indeed important quality of life issues for a variety of reasons. Council and City Hall, which should be right and centre the “champions” for life quality for its citizens have indeed a lot of work ahead of them to deliver just that. Noisy Harleys season is coming. Nothing worse that sleep-deprived Kamloopsians having to get their relaxing patio time destroyed by the “freedom riders”…off onto a tangent there I go.
    But bright lights since 2012? 10 years to realize they are just too much?

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