Rossland’s new street light policy to reduce costs, light pollution

Rossland City Council has adopted a new street light policy with the goal of reducing costs, redundant street lights and light pollution.

Rossland City Council has adopted a new street light policy with the goal of reducing costs, redundant street lights and light pollution.

At Monday night’s council meeting, staff presented a new street light policy that has been in progress for some time. The new policy is for the city “to remove excess lighting on low pedestrian roadways, dead-end streets, alleys and rural roads,” but also to make sure that there is “adequate lighting” where necessary, especially for pedestrians.

Darrin Albo, manager of public works, had a map on hand where he had marked off all of the lights to be removed. That map will eventually be made available to the public for review.

“If this gets approved then we can sit down and we’ll develop a strategy for [public feedback]. It’s in our budget,” explained CAO/CO Bryan Teasdale, when asked about engaging the public by Coun. Marten Kruysse. Teasdale also said the map of street lights to be removed would be made available online, but warned that it wouldn’t be done right away as city staff is currently busy with the Spokane Street Infrastructure Improvement Project.

Albo anticipated that the city will receive negative feedback both from those who don’t want lights removed and those that do. “We are going to get lots of complaints. We’re going to get them from both sides. We’re going to get ‘It’s too dark,’ like [Coun. Kruysse] had indicated, for pedestrians and bears, and then we’re going to get the other side of ‘Well, you took theirs out, why don’t you take ours out because I hate that light.’”

Following a pilot project in the Pinewood Subdivision, the new policy also sets out the city’s intention to switch all non-LED street lights to 3000K LED lights. As new LEDs are installed, the city will be wary of light trespass when the street lights shine into people’s homes and can use shields to mitigate this, as they did in Pinewood, and may lower some of the lights as well.

The final item addressed in the policy is “to ensure a 15 working day response time to lighting complaints.”

Council decides against benefits for council members

At the council meeting on Feb. 20, council had directed city staff to explore the option of a blanket policy for council members that covers health benefits, but at Monday night’s meeting council decided not to pursue the matter further.

In its report back, city staff informed council that under the city’s current plan, the minimum hours worked to be eligible for benefits is 20 hours per week, and that “it is felt that Councillors work (on average) approximately five-15 hours per week” and therefore wouldn’t be eligible. Staff did, however, provide other options for health care plans, pointing out that the cost had not been accounted for in the current five-year financial plan.

In the ensuing conversation among council, it was agreed that a benefits package didn’t seem appropriate, but council was interested in comparing Rossland council members’ compensation to the compensation offered by other municipalities and looking at possibly increasing the compensation for the next council.

“If we want to do this, I think we should do it towards the end. Have a compensation committee, appoint people from the community and have them make recommendations to council,” said Kruysse. “So it would be effective the next council, but not apply to this council.”

Council agreed not to use up staff time looking into the matter, and that council members could collect the necessary data themselves.