Calgary Light Pollution: Council Considers New Policy For Developers To Cut Down On Bright Bulbs

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Does Calgary continue to throw off too much light pollution? City hall seems to think so.

City council is debating adding a new policy to Plan It development guidelines, the long-term blueprint for the city’s development, which would require developers and builders to submit lighting plans when applying for permits, the Calgary Herald reports.

Ald. Brian Pincott introduced the motion, requesting rules be put in place to cut down on light pollution.

According to the CBC, bright lights are affecting planetary views at the University of Calgary's observatory south of the city -- despite the city's recent efforts to switch to energy efficient light bulbs and point street lights downward.

Pincott told the CBC that while the city is doing what it can to cut down on bright lights, they can't force the hand of those grandfathered in.

"We can't go back and make everybody take their offending lights down, as much as we'd want to. But the moment they have to redo their lighting, they would have to fall within the guidelines."

A tweeted photo from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, commander of the International Space Station, earlier this week showed a very bright, illuminated Calgary surrounded by virtual darkness. Nearly every major city roadway is visible in the photo.

"Calgary at night, shining in the foothills of the Rockies. Nose Hill Park really stands out," he tweeted.

Ald. Andre Chabot said Calgary should go one step further and begin to lower power consumption.

“I’m looking at it from a cost perspective. Ensuring we have all the protections in place and making sure all of our policies are aligned is essential,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

The city will hold a public hearing this spring as it seeks to amend the existing policy.

Within the past 10 years, before retrofitting, Calgary was deemed one of Canada's brightest cities at night, reports the Herald.

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