Revelstokians will be seeing more exterior lighting downtown.
After more than a year of the bureaucratic process, the Revelstoke Credit Union (RCU) is preparing to move forward with its plan to install LED exterior lighting on its two locations at 110 Second Street West and 201 Victoria Street West.
Council gave approval on April 10 for RCU to move forward on the development permits in consultation with City Staff, despite City Staff recommending that council deny RCU’s request for two development permit applications in support of the project.
The objection on behalf of the staff pertained to Dark Sky policies in the Official Community Plan. (OCP)
The International Dark Sky Association crafts public policy to promote dark skies in the hopes of reducing the consumption of energy and protecting the environment.
Based on those policies Revelstoke’s OCP “encourages developments to use directional lighting that minimizes unneeded lights during the day and night.”
Roberta Bobicki, RCU CEO, said the idea behind the plan to install exterior lighting is to improve visibility in the winter.
“We’re a resort community,” said RCU CEO Roberta Bobicki, pleading with Council to move forward with the development permit application. “How can we turn the lights off?”
“In the winter by 4 p.m., it’s pitch black,” said Bobicki. “We thought some soft friendly lighting around the top of the building would be something nice.”
The recommendation to deny the request comes after two other requests were approved by council to allow exterior lighting.
The first was approved in 2015 to allow the Best Western to install exterior lighting, and the second was approved in 2016 to allow the Regent Hotel to have exterior lighting.
Councillor Brothers said it’s unfair and recommended the City work on developing better policy.
She said long term the City needs a policy to understand what the City will look like.
Councillor English said he was not prepared to support the staff recommendation.
Mayor Mark McKee said the applicant has made a number of concessions and worked with City Staff on the project and that he has always been supportive of getting more lights into the community.
“Lights may or may not make the community safer,” said McKee. “But they make people feel safer, and they make people feel more welcome.”
He said it has taken a year to get to this date and that that is not fair to the applicant.
Councillor Duke and Councillor Nixon objected to the proposal, voting in favour of the Staff recommendation to deny the permit application.
Councillor Nixon said the environment committee and heritage committee have not been asked about the application and if it does move ahead, she recommended no further ones do until the OCP review and the community is consulted.
She said we live on the boundaries of two national parks and that if this were a national park this permit application would not move forward.
Councillor Duke said that until there is formal policy guiding the decision, council is just making ad-hoc decisions and that policy needs to be put in place to better help guide council in their decision making process.
“We have nothing guiding us and we are just making an ad-hoc decision because we don’t have policies in place,” said Duke. “Our OCP, what we do have, says we don’t want to pollute the skies.”
Councillors English, Brothers, Sulz, and Mayor McKee voted against the motion to deny the permit application.
Councillor Orlando recused himself from the conversation due to a business relationship with the applicant.
Council also approved a motion to consider Dark Sky policy in the upcoming OCP review.