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Guelph Light Pollution Bylaw

Guelph Councillors Pass Motion for Light Pollution Bylaw

A council committee in Guelph has taken a significant step towards reducing light pollution in the city.

On July 3, during a committee of the whole meeting, councillors passed a motion directing city staff to draft a new bylaw or amend existing ones to curb excessive lighting, known as “light trespassing.” The motion also calls for the development of guidelines to help residents minimize their own contributions to light pollution, such as the use of full cutoff light fixtures.

The report presented to councillors highlighted the impact of artificial lighting on both humans and the environment, noting that Guelph is experiencing notable effects of light pollution.

“The major light pollution hot spots in Guelph are the commercial plaza at Clair Road and Gordon Street, the Hanlon Industrial Park, along Stone Road West from Stone Road Mall to the University of Guelph, Downtown Guelph, the west end industrial sector, and auto dealers on Woodlawn Road,” said the report.

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Ward 1 Councillor Dan Gibson expressed the importance of the bylaw clearly defining what constitutes excessive lighting. He also stressed the need to ensure that the bylaw does not negatively impact residents who use a significant number of lights during holidays like Christmas and Diwali.

“We want to make sure the reasonableness is properly defined and that we are not dampening the spirit of the season when people decorate their homes,” said Gibson. “That would be a terrible outcome for this, which would [have] bylaw officers visiting people because they have decorated their homes for the season they care about.”

The motion will be up for a vote at the next full council meeting on July 23.

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