Elizabeth Ball seeks 'dark sky' legislation for Vancouver light pollution

Vancouver Councillor Elizabeth Ball wants to turn the switch on light pollution in the city with an Outdoor Lighting By-law that would limit the amount of lights in the city at night.

Health concerns, waste cited as reasons for ensuring lighting in Vancouver is efficient

Councillor Elizabeth Ball wants to limit the light in Vancouver's night sky. (Michael Nugent/Flickr)

Vancouver Councillor Elizabeth Ball wants to turn the switch on light pollution in the city with an outdoor lighting bylaw that would limit the amount of lights in the city at night.

"What we're talking about doing is reducing light in the night sky and making sure that we have lots of light on the ground, where people are walking," she told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"It's actually about shielding light correctly. Right now we waste about 60 per cent of the light that is...output in unshielded lights."

Vancouver City Councillor Elizabeth Ball says light pollution has a negative impact on human health. (NPA Vancouver)

Ball puts a motion to council later today, that would include retrofitting old lights with more efficient bulbs, and putting limits on lighting on private properties like illuminated signs and flood lights.

She cited a report from the American Medical Association that shows light pollution affects a city's residents by disturbing their circadian rhythms. 

Ball said big sporting events at stadiums like Rogers Arena and BC Place could be granted exemptions to the bylaw.

"They would be using them when people are there, when it's important to have the light drawing people in. It's not changing everything in the city. It's a judicious, sensible approach to where we need light."

To hear the full interview with Elizabeth Ball, click the audio labelled: Councillor Ball wants to dim the lights in Vancouver.

On mobile? Click here to see Councillor Ball's Notice of Motion on an Outdoor Lighting By-law.

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