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Modification of Lighting in Magog, Quebec to Reduce Light Pollution and Energy Use

Magog, Quebec

Currently, the city of Magog, Quebec has a policy regarding street lighting within its boundaries that will allow it to save nearly $175,000 per year while also reducing light pollution.

Before the adoption of its policy on street lighting, the City of Magog carried out pilot projects in 2013 and 2014 in order to test the new approaches.

It reduced the number of fixtures and specific sites and began using light-emitting diodes and LEDs in place of traditional bulbs. LEDs provide the double advantage of giving off less glare and requiring less energy.

"The next stage is to make these practices uniform across the whole region serviced by Hydro-Magog," said Magog Mayor Vicki May Hamm.

The Mayor of Magog knows that the new policy of her municipality will force some citizens to change their habits. "Above all in the urban setting," she said, highlighting that the streets in Magog's rural part are less well-lit than those in the center of the city. However, she assures that the security of the users of the local street network will not be sacrificed, despite the announced changes. "The lighting will remain completely secure."

Moreover, during a press conference at the city's hotel, Mayor Hamm noted that the City of Sherbrooke has taken a similar turn. Similar initiatives have also been taking place in the MRC [Regional County Municipality] of Granit and of Haut-Saint-Francois in the last few years.

Mont Megantic observatory, Magog, Quebec

Adapted Lighting

The Director of Public Works for the City of Magog, Michel Turcotte, notes that the lighting will adapt itself in function of the existing roads and sites of the municipality.

"The challenge in Magog is that the road geometry is not perfect and that the spacing between the electric poles is not always equal. This will require us to adjust. We will trust our teams," declared Mr. Turcotte.

While the expertise of the municipal employees will be used, constructive criticism on the part of the citizens will be truly welcome as well, as it will help the City do even better.

Since it will entail a significant reduction in the "level of lighting," the new policy of the municipality will be notably more beneficial to the environment. Too much light could indeed have harmful effects on certain organisms and ecosystems.

Finally, the City's announcement goes with the consensual efforts of several municipalities to preserve the starry sky of the region, so dear to the observatory on Mont Megantic.

Magog seems to think its current lighting scheme causes light pollution. What should larger municipalities be doing to curb this phenomenon? Is light pollution a problem in your community? 

Original article, originally published in French, here.

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