Sainte Anne de Bellevue proposes light pollution by-law

Municipal lights will feature cut off hood to reduce unwanted glare

By Kevin Woodhouse

While West Island municipalities including Baie d’Urfe, Kirkland, Dorval, Pierrefonds-Roxboro will be taking part in the upcoming Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 from 8:30-9:30 p.m., the city of Sainte Anne de Bellevue, who will also be participating in the hour long electricity shut off, is taking light pollution concerns a step further after recently passing a by-law on the issue.

The by-law’s impetus came from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Montreal branch that has set up their observatory at Morgan Arboretum, the club’s urban star park. The society used to have a set up on Mt. Royal but the excessive lights from the city made star gazing almost impossible.

“The idea is to stop letting light from getting into the atmosphere unnecessarily,” said Sainte Anne councilor and head of the Environmental Committee, Ryan Young.

Suggestions from the by-law would be for citizens and business owners to apply cut off hoods to exterior lights. “This way, light that is needed for intended areas will still be efficient with less glare and waste,” Young told The Suburban.

A pamphlet detailing the best choice of lighting system for outdoor setups will be sent to homeowners shortly. “Any outside lights being used are okay but a new type of fixture will be required when replacing lights,” said Young.

Within the next five years, the city wants to have completely changed all of its street lights. The ones currently being changed “have no mercury and are LEDs which uses less energy,” said Young.

As an example of using the new cut off style lighting system, Young noted the temporary exterior lights that were set up along Highway 40 during recent construction work that is resuming for the spring and summer. “Those lights have full cut offs which reduces glare and increases visibility and safety for the driver,” the councilor said. 

The Earth Hour initiative began in Australia as a symbolic gesture to sensitize people to climate change. People are encouraged to turn off their electrical lights for an hour the evening of March 29.
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