Canadian Municipalities to Spend CA$13 M on LED Streetlight Retrofits

Several Canadian municipalities are planning to invest CA $13 million (US $9.29 million) to replace 42,000 streetlights this year, reported Metroland News.

Eyeing lighting cost savings from the retrofit, the local municipality governments agreed to roll out the streetlight upgrades.

Some municipalities are still waiting for final budget approval, it’s estimated a request for proposals to finish the work will be issued in March.

Municipalities including Cambridge, Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich and the Region of Waterloo project they will save at least CA $1.6 million combined per year in operating costs after the upfront cost has been returned through savings.

Initial investment will be paid back in savings from six to 10 years, depending on the municipality.

Certain townships and municipalities have not budgeted money for the light conversions, though. Notably, North Dumfries has not allocated budget to convert 547 lights, while Kitchener which owns 18,000 streetlights more than any municipality also has not prepared any lighting upgrade project budget beforehand.

According to finance chair Scott Davey said a business case will be presented to the council in March. The city wants to have a better idea of how much the conversion will cost upfront, and the length of the payback period.

"There are some open questions that require council direction prior to developing an allocation," Davey said.

Even though municipalities have agreed about the environmental and financial benefits that are worth the change, the lights have attracted criticisms.

The LED bulbs cast light farther than high-pressure sodium lights currently installed, and proposals for the retrofit light will include parameters that warm-colored light emissions be required and upward light emissions from the fixtures be regulated.

All the lighting upgrades are expected to be rolled out by 2018.

The region has been testing LED lights in Cambridge and Kitchener.

In 2006, a streetlight in Cambridge was converted and to this day is still operating and requires no maintenance, said regional staff.

In 2014, Kitchner converted 31 streetlights on Frederick Street between Lancaster Street and Edna Street. Staff checked whether there were any effect on drivers or pedestrians, but did not find any impact on collision rates.

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