Island homeowner seeks new ‘nuisance’ bylaw after neighbour’s floodlight led to sleep loss, stress

Island homeowner seeks new 'nuisance' bylaw after neighbour's floodlight led to sleep loss, stress
Photo: Paula Bourque/Campbell River

A Campbell River homeowner says her neighbour’s outdoor floodlight has caused her to lose sleep and suffer from stress and anxiety, so she’s hoping the city will establish a new bylaw enforcing nuisance lighting.

“It has become an issue in my life,” said Paula Bourque, who lives in the Willow Point neighbourhood.

Bourque, on Thursday, Jan. 11, told Campbell River council that her neighbour’s floodlight, which is also motion sensored, shines directly into her bedroom window.

The light and window are “in close proximity,” she said. The light is next to her neighbour’s side entrance door, which is across from her window.

“It goes on and off all night. And sometimes he does it on purpose to walk out there, to just turn it on,” claimed Bourque at the council meeting. “I was becoming very stressed. I lost sleep over it, and I became extremely stressed and anxious.”

In her proposal, which is posted on the city’s website, Bourque asked council to impose a bylaw enforcing LED and halogen lighting floodlights between homes less than 15 metres (49 feet) apart.

She says these lights should have a “power total equal or less than 3,000 lumens or 200 watts” and be pointed on the owner’s property rather than other properties, with “no light spillage from unshielded flood lights on a neighbouring property.”

She said the City of Vancouver implemented a similar bylaw.

Bourque noted that LED lights are measured in lumens, which is how much brightness they produce, as opposed to watts, which is the amount of energy they consume. She said LEDs are seven times brighter and more efficient than incandescent lighting.

“My neighbour has decided to uninstall two 500-watt spotlights that he was aiming at our bedroom window and install a 40,000 lumens LED floodlight and aim it at the side of our house,” Bourque told council.

“The entire side of our house is lit up, and the neighbour behind us as well. His yard and chicken coop are lit up, too,” she added.

“Chickens don’t lay eggs if they can’t sleep.”

She says she and her neighbour have settled “some immediate issues” with help from bylaw enforcement in the past, but because there is no bylaw for nuisance lighting, they “cannot assist us with this issue, nor can the police.”

After her bylaw proposal, council chimed in.

“I imagine you’ve tried communicating with your neighbour, and that’s not successful?” Coun. Ron Kerr asked Bourque, who immediately shook her head no.

“I gathered that,” added Kerr.

A staff member with the city told council that the city does “not have a provision related to nuisance lighting in the public nuisance bylaw,” adding, “Within the community charter, this is an area that the city could choose to regulate.”

Kerr requested the issue be referred to city staff, who are then expected to report back to council.

READ ALSO: Campbell River fish and chips restaurant a nuisance property for ‘disturbing’ odour: city

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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