Council approves Lions bid to extend park lighting hours

January 20, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Following a brief trial period over the holidays for the new sports pad lighting at the Lions Park, Orangeville Lions attended Council on Monday evening to seek direction with regards to the hours of operation for the lights moving forward.

Although the trial period was cut short due to the weather, the club felt they had obtained enough information to move forward with the project. In a report submitted to members of Council, the club explained that the trial period was held before  changes to lighting requested in December had been applied. Based on the lack of changes, the report explained that one resident felt there was too much light pollution, and another wished to see the trial period extended since the pad’s use was limited due to the weather.

The trial period over the holidays saw the lights on for only a few hours: from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and at Monday night’s meeting the Lions asked that the hours return to the original request of 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prior to the holidays, some residents whose properties abut the park had brought forward concerns of light and noise pollution, including extreme light spillage from the candles. One resident, Stephanie Wilson, explained that the lights were bright enough that she could sit on her front porch and read a book if she wished.

“The Lions installed the lighting in October, and during the process we intensified the light as required by the town,” explained Bill Theeuwen, who spoke to Council on behalf of the Lions Club. “The pad was put in the park where the Town wanted us to put it, and we put it where we were directed. When we recommended the lighting to Town Council, we wanted 10 foot candles on the pad.”

However, the lighting recommended by the Town was 33 foot candles, three times what the Lions had hoped for. And while the Lions have already spent $3000 on trees to create a buffer, and the town will be spending another $1000, it still hasn’t helped.

As of last Thursday, the lighting was reduced to 22 foot candles, and the wattage  to 1000 from 1500.

“Our club is committed to working with the neighbours, and we knew this would be a big change for them,” said Mr. Theeuwen. “It has been a big, open and unused area for a long time. I’m not sure that it would be reasonable to assume it would stay like that forever.”

Their recommendation for the lighting hours was based on the other parks around town that allow residents to use them into the evening. Parks like Rotary and the Princess of Wales have lights on until 11 p.m. At the sports pad, while the lights would be functional until 10 or 10:30 p.m., they might not always be on. The lights are based on a timer, and need to be turned on by those using the pad. If there is no movement on the pad for a set amount of time, the lights will turn off.

“One of the things we would like to make sure people understand is that the lighting system that has been installed is very specific,” said Mr. Theeuwen. “The lights are not on all those times, they are only on if someone presses the button during the specified time period. If anyone comes at 2 a.m. they can press it all they want and it won’t turn on.”

One request made at the previous Council meeting was to have the timer turn off after 10 minutes, rather than 30 minutes. Currently, they are working on making the change.

“There are factors here that we need to consider,” said Mayor Jeremy Williams. “If we turn the lights off at 8 p.m., we have to understand people are people. If there are no lights, [they] are just as likely to use it. I have been there many times and have seen cars and trucks parked with their lights on. We have to make sure that this makes sense all around.”

He added that, based on comments by residents at Council Monday night, the issue wasn’t as much the timing as it was the light spillage.

“If this was there before people moved in, it probably wouldn’t be as bad,” he said. “I want it to be clear, that whatever Council decides or wishes, it is not carved in stone. We don’t want residents to feel that whatever we decide tonight, whether it’s a trial or just to turn on the lights, that it is permanent.”

After a little more discussion concerning liability issues if lighting is reduced too much, as well as the timer, Council passed a motion to support the Lions request to make the lighting available from 4:30 to 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m..

By Tabitha Wells

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.