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 firstname.lastname@example.org.