Monday, March 16, 2009

My light pollution letter to the editor

My letter to the editor about the new lights in Montebello Park and the light pollution they cause has been printed in today's St. Catharines Standard. It was in response to this column.

Unlike Doug Herod, I have noticed the new lights in Montebello Park since they were installed. They are hard to miss, considering how ugly and bright they are.

The new light standards cast light sideways, emitting glare that is distracting and dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. They also spread light upwards, creating more light pollution that blots out the light of our already hard-to-see stars. This light represents wasted energy and taxpayer money.

There are better lighting solutions out there that cast light down, only where needed. I'm sad the city and electrical contractor were unable to find them. Many other local properties, businesses and municipalities already have these better, more attractive, energy-efficient lights, or prohibit lights such as these from being installed.

In a time of green consciousness and penny pinching by governments and citizens, these new lights do nothing to further either agenda.

Philip Downey, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Niagara Centre St. Catharines