Shining through morning fog, one of BC Hydro’s new LED streetlights lights up the corner of Burgess and Christie in Masset. BC Hydro recently installed 26 of the energy-efficient streetlights in Masset, Port Clements, Skidegate, and Queen Charlotte as part of a year-long pilot. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

LED streetlights shine at last

BC Hydro is doing a year-long test of LED streetlights at over two dozen locations in Haida Gwaii

Four Haida Gwaii villages now have shining examples of LED streetlights.

BC Hydro recently installed 26 of the new, more energy-efficient lights in Masset, Port Clements, Skidegate, and Queen Charlotte.

Besides using about half the power as regular sodium-vapour streetlights, LED streetlights are also more reliable, says Dave Mosure, spokesperson for BC Hydro, and won’t need to be replaced so often. BC Hydro is testing several types of LED streetlights on Haida Gwaii, mainly to see which models have the best brightness and colour, especially in rain, fog and other kinds of inclement weather.

“We will be testing the performance of the islands’ LED streetlights and will use these results in choosing which makes and models to use as we upgrade BC Hydro streetlights across the province,” Mosure said in an email.

For the four villages that applied to test them back in 2012, getting the pilot started has taken some patience. Besides cutting their carbon footprints, the switch to LED streetlights could save the villages several thousand dollars each year.

In Port Clements, for example, switching to all LED lights could save about $3,500 and 41 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. Last year, Queen Charlotte’s annual streetlighting budget costs came to $9,920, and so far it looks like it will cost even more to keep the lights on this year.

But the LED project got caught up in red tape when BC Hydro discovered it actually owns the streetlights on Haida Gwaii, and again when a larger LED streetlighting pilot started in Richmond.

“They studied them for a couple years in Richmond, they’re studying them up here and who knows, they might even break it down and study Main Street,” joked Councillor Barry Pages, speaking at the latest Masset council meeting.

While they might be later than expected, village leaders were encouraged that BC Hydro agreed to extend the testing to a year from the original six months, so that islanders can compare the different lights over a winter. Many models of LED streetlights also have a “warmer,” more yellow colour temperature now than the more stark, blue/green colour temperatures of older models four years ago.

Mosure said BC Hydro is still working out what it would cost to convert all the streetlights on Haida Gwaii to LEDs. BC Hydro will also have to set new rates for LED street lighting, which have to be approved by the BC Utilities Commission.

The following is a list of all the areas where the new LED streetlights are being tested. Islanders can take a look and send comments on the lights to their local village office.

LED STREETLIGHT LOCATIONS:

Masset

Collison Avenue and Tahayghen Drive

Hodges Avenue and Tow Hill Road

Brant Crescent and Widgeon Boulevard

Delkatla Road and Trumpeter Drive

Christie Street and Burgess Avenue

Port Clements

Hemlock Crescent

34 Park Street

288 Bayview Drive

2 Dyson Street

Highway 16 and Cedar

130 Adams Avenue

North end of Tingley Street

254 Bayview Drive

Skidegate

Across from Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary

Across from Skidegate Daycare

Skidegate Heights hill (two)

Highway 16 across from the Co-op

Skidegate Community Hall

Across from the GBRC

Queen Charlotte

2nd and 11th Avenue

7th Avenue and Oceanview Drive

4th and 2nd Avenue

129 2nd Avenue

Oceanview Drive and 2nd Avenue

Wharf Way and Causeway

4201 Oceanview Drive

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