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Bright idea: City makes move to address 'nuisance lighting'

'There’s nothing worse than hearing from folks when they’re in their house late at night and all they get is light shining in,' says Coun. Ainsworth
Street light
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The city has updated its property standards bylaw and, for the first time, it addresses “nuisance lighting.”

Staff received council committee’s blessing Monday to include a provision that states “Lighting shall be buffered from neighbouring property … and maintenance of a barrier or deflector to prevent lighting from shining directly into a dwelling unit.”

City bylaw enforcement staff noted they have received two to three complaints about lighting per year over the past five years.

“Almost all of these complaints have been regarding light that is shining directly into a person’s dwelling unit and impacting the peaceful enjoyment of their respective home.”

Complaints about light were “almost non-existent” more than five years ago, staff wrote in a report, because there weren’t as many high-intensity LED lights in the city.

Coun. Rob Kloostra noted there are some LED billboards in the city that are “quite bright.”

“It would be beneficial to see some of them turned off at midnight,” he said.

Coun. Mason Ainsworth welcomed the change to the bylaw.

“I definitely think it’s a need,” he said.

“There’s nothing worse than hearing from folks when they’re in their house late at night and all they get is light shining in.”

Like many of his colleagues, Coun. David Campbell has received a number of complaints about lights, and he supported the new provision.

“Like most bylaws, I hope it never has to be enforced, but I certainly support it,” he said.

He added that he hopes when people replace old lighting with brighter ones, like LEDs, they consider the potential effects on neighbours.

The bylaw will be enforced on a complaint basis.

Also passed as part of that motion was a direction to staff to work in consultation with the environmental advisory committee “to consider the development of a dark sky friendly outdoor lighting information campaign” and report to budget committee regarding any needed funding.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central news desk in Simcoe County.
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