St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School - Lights

Status re Parking Lot Lights – Needless Light Pollution

STA parking lot lightsOn January 24th 2011,  St. Thomas Aquinas school turned on its parking lot lights casting a bright glow over the area. These lights are excessive both in their intensity and in their hours of operation. SCORA is asking  the school to control the parking lot lights by zones,  turning on only those lights near the school when there are no activities in the school other than custodians or small meetings.    This common sense approach to lights management will reduce needless light pollution, energy consumption and operating costs -  all while also being a good neighbour!

 SCORA’s  request to HCDSB and their response:
June 3, 2011       Scora response
May 20th 2011    HCDSB response
May 2, 2011        Scora letter
Feb. 14, 2011     SCORA email eo HCDSB Facilities Management

Status re sports field lights:
The following SCORA Communty Alert bulletin issued to members and neighbours April 7, 2010 summarizes the outcome of the schools application for sports field lights.

 “We are please to advise you of the outcome of the Council Meeting April 6th regarding applications for field lights installation in established areas (eg: St. Thomas Aquinas school, St. Ignatius Loyola school). STA Lightd

Town Council adopted the recommendations of the Community Services Committee that established:

strict specifications regarding light  trespass onto adjacent property (LEED industry standards) and

limited hours of operation(up to 9pm Monday to Friday and not on weekends).  

Council did not feel they could deny lights installation outright,  so strict installation guidelines was the next best way to stop inappropriate installations on properties that are too small to accommodate a lit field without negatively impacting the surrounding area.  
A representative from HCDSB indicated at the meeting that they do not feel they will be able to meet these light trespass limits at St. Thomas Aquinas or Loyola schools.The curfew also lessens their business case for installing them since that was their primary reason – to get revenue.   We are hopeful that the HCDSB will conclude this and formally withdraw their application.
We thank you for your support in this battle that has been going on for over a year and a half.  Your calls, emails and attendance at meetings  is what made our efforts successful.   Your contributions to our  membership/Action Fund also allowed us to engage lawyers and lighting  technical advisers.  One big side benefit of development issues is that we meet others living in the area  which enhances our neighbourhood even more.  I would also like to extend thanks to those residents on our SCORA executive and committees who have contributed ideas and countless hours researching by-laws and lighting specifications and calling councilors or distributing flyers.   This victory has been a true team effort we can be proud of - because the odds were long.

Ongoing Issue - Noise to adjacent homes:

View this video to see the impact that sports field noise has on neighbourhoods backing onto fields with artificial turf when they are rented to high competition leagues for tournaments.   SCORA always stated that noise was as big a disruptive factor for established neighbourhoods as the field lights.  This is proving to be right, as higher level of competition is taking place on the new artificial field at Loyola school.  No longer just a school sports field, this field that is locked off from general public access is being rented out on weekends for tournaments that are proving to be very noisy and disruptive to the community.  The neighbours are working with the town who rents the fields out, to come up with a solution.  It could have been even worse if field lights hadn’t been stopped.