By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa’s newest multi-million dollar project has been toted as shiny and bright. Now, residents will have a chance to see it.
The installation of thousands of LED streetlights throughout the city is now officially underway and, according to city staff, the new lights are set to save the city big time. According to a news release from the city, the new bulbs will reduce energy consumption by as much as 60 per cent and will require less maintenance.
The investment grade audit report that led to council’s approval of the $8.4-million project claimed the new system could save Oshawa more than $1.4 million a year. However, over the next decade, Oshawa will be paying off the loan required for the project from the Region of Durham.
As previously reported in The Oshawa Express, debt is not been the only concern raised with the project, as the final IGA report omitted options for funding the project from councillors.
Now, concerns are being raised surrounding light pollution with these new bulbs.
In a letter from the Toronto chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, chair Peter Hiscocks writes that the city needs to be cognizant of the amount of light pollution created by these LED lights.
“Many communities are considering the switch to LED lighting with a view to reducing the use of electricity. Depending on the design of the lighting, this can result in reduced light pollution or significantly worse light pollution,” the letter reads.
According to Glenn Simmonds, the city’s director of operations, the light pollution aspects were taken into account during the development of the IGA, adding the new lights will see a “significant decrease” in light pollution.
“They will actually have significantly less light pollution because they’re more directional,” Simmonds says.
The IGA also did locational audits to determine the amount of wattage that would be required in certain areas.
However, what is not included in the new lighting system is the ability to dim the lights if less brightness is required. According to Simmonds, that option came at a “significant additional cost” and was not financially viable.
In total, more than 10,000 light fixtures and 2,332 decorative fixtures will be converted to the new system, with completion set for the spring of 2017.